This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 4, 2006, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: One West Virginia miner is hopefully going to recover, but 12 of his co-workers, as you now know, are dead — their coal mine cited for more than 250 safety violations just last year. Now, most of us work in environments that are far less dangerous, but, still, there are hazards you may never consider.
So, how do you know if your employer is keeping you safe?
Bobby Jackson is the with the National Safety Council, and Bruce Groves, president Emilcott Associates and a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Bobby, to you first.
How do we sort of plan for something like this?
BOBBY JACKSON, VICE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL PROGRAMS, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL: Well, I think it's difficult to plan for an incident like this. Prevention is certainly the key word here.
CAVUTO: I'm curious, too, Bruce. Obviously, very few of us work in coal mines. But very few are aware of the violations or the problems that crop up where we work. I mean, even coal miners don't know, for example, that this particular plant had been cited, you know, a couple of hundred times. Yet, this happens all the time in regular workplaces, and workers don't know, right?
BRUCE GROVES, PRESIDENT, EMILCOTT ASSOCIATES: Well, I don't think you can say that workers don't know. I think that one of the things about this coal mining issue that comes about is, people focus on how many violations actually were there. But, clearly, this was a highly regulated mine. Plenty of inspectors were there. And it's an open process. Workers have the right to their own worker safety. They have the right to come to work. And they have the right to go home. And it's a process that workers need to participate, so...
CAVUTO: Well, let's get past the vagaries here. When you say workers need to participate and know what's going on, how do you know that?
GROVES: Well, at a mine — and I'm not familiar with this specific issue.
CAVUTO: Let's stop talking about mines for a second.
CAVUTO: Beyond mines. For people who are concerned just in their workplace.
GROVES: Well, in everyone's workplace, there will be hazards. And there is a worker's right to ask questions about what are the specific hazards associated with the jobs they happen to have.
And the people to ask would be their supervisors or the people who have been designated as being safety and health representatives, or industrial hygienists. There are safety professionals. And this information is available. There's plenty of information also available for anyone who can start to do their own research in worker safety.
CAVUTO: OK. But let me ask you, Bobby, whether you feel — again, mine incidents not withstanding — people tend to think that's a very dangerous line of work, even though we know, in percentage terms, it's actually not.
But when you look at the whole American work force, are we, in our country, safer where we work than, for example, average workers in other countries?
JACKSON: Oh, absolutely so.
I think, if you look at the data, you would find that to be the case. It's unfortunate that this circumstance that we're dealing with today has brought the attention forward to workplace safety. Keep in mind that about 12 to 15 people die daily in the workplace, with a total of about 4,500 a year.
CAVUTO: Wait a minute. Could you break that down for me? When you say 12 to 15 die daily — are they getting heart attacks on the job? Is it beyond that, or accidents, what?
JACKSON: No, job-related deaths.
JACKSON: Yes, job-related, about 4,500 to 5,000 a year. Calculate that out, 15 to 20 a day.
CAVUTO: Mostly in manufacturing?
JACKSON: Oh, no, in all work areas, all work areas, according to the data.
CAVUTO: OK, gentlemen, I wish we had more time. But thank you both very much.
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