On Thursday, two legislative committees will convene to discuss “third-party liability issues involving workers’ compensation.” Even though the topic of this hearing was set long before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, BP puts the hearing in a new light that spurs a second look at our pro-defendant civil justice system and the impact immunity for BP-style disasters has on workers, communities, and the environment. We have a newvideo putting the focus where it should be.
If recent history is any guide, the discussion at Thursday’s hearing will be dominated by lobbyists pitching even more schemes to immunize their clients from accountability rather than how to prevent workplace catastrophes. No doubt, industry groups will call for even more restrictions on the rights of workers who are harmed on the job with proposals to force them into a broken workers’ comp system or some new catastrophic injury plan which will socialize damages, forcing companies that heed safety protocols to subsidize the liability of those that don’t.
None of the lobbyist-driven proposals will prevent needless workplace injuries and deaths or protect the environment.
Texas Watch produced a new web video to remind us all what this is really about. It is about the men and women who have lost their lives because it was cheaper for an industrial plant owner to cut corners on safety than it was to implement proven safety protocols. One way to improve workplace safety is to reverse that calculation, making it more cost-beneficial for industry to protect workers than it is to shirk their duty to keep their workers safe.