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Segment | Politics

Protected or Neglected?

Updated September 30, 2010

Is the agency charged with protecting the safety of California workers failing to do its job? A six-month long investigation by SoCal Connected shows that many of the inspectors who enforce California's worker safety laws say the system is strained if not broken.

Our investigation discovered that fines levied against employers who violate safety rules are routinely reduced or even dismissed, often over the objections of Cal-OSHA workers who cited the companies for safety hazards.

Watch this exclusive investigation and find out why workers in California may have more to fear than just losing their jobs.

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Thank you for reporting on a subject the conflicted networks of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW choose to ignore. In California it's always cheaper to violate workplace safety laws than comply with them. The reason is the 1913 Workers' Compensation Act prevents employees injured through their employer's negligence from suing for punitive and compensatory damages. Add in the fact that the voice of the business lobby combined with its bribes (i.e. political donations) is louder than the majority of Californians and you have an issue of social injustice. Your piece on Cal/OSHA also proves the institution of "Master Servant Law" is alive and well and that we no longer have representative government (assuming we ever did). I think the moral of your story is that if you want to kill or maim someone and get away with it, hire them to work for you and make sure your workplace has plenty of hazards. As longer as you have a worker's compensation insurance policy you'll be bullet proof when the victim's family tries to get justice in a court of law. Moral hazard or the right to sue for punitive or compensatory damages used to act as a check on employers that wanted to maim and kill their employees, but that was done away with when the 1913 Workers' Compensation Act was passed into law. Now the most you can hope to collect in the aftermath of a serious on the job injury is 8 cents on the dollar. Also, the refusal of the public schools to educate their students about the dangers of the California workplace and the lack of legal rights is another reason so many people are injured each year in California.

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