“Accidents” are no accident

Today, December 19, 2017, the US Congress voted for A Trillion dollars in tax cuts for corporations and the rich, but no money for train safety.

Yesterday, six people were killed, scores injured as a train jumps tracks and crashes in Washington state, December 18th, 2017.  The train had no positive train control system.

Remember the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line passengers’ train derailed December1, 2013- killing 115 passengers, and injuring another 61. It was caused by a Lack of safety controls.

Remember the Amtrak Northeast Regional train that derailed in Philadelphia  May12, 2015- killing  8 and injury over 200, 11 injured critically.  It was caused by a Lack of safety controls

There is a positive train control system that automatically slows or stops a train but they were not installed due to Congressional inactivity, euphemistically know as “budgetary shortfalls”.

Other obvious protections would be to have a minimum of 2 engineers in the control room of all trains at all time.  Installation of Dead man’s switches in all trains, Speed controls on tracks and trains and a reduction of the work day could all be instituted

What about the crash that critically injured Tracy Morgan, TV actor on “30 Rock Star” show. It was caused by Wal Mart’s employee’s Truck Driver Fatigue, a preventable condition that is responsible for killing over 5,000 people a year.

These deaths can be prevented by Legalizing, Regulating and Enforcing shorter working hours, adequate sleep, time for commuting, time for family and time for meals as well as adjustments for work shift affects on Circadian Rhythms.

It was recently reported in the AP, August 11, 2015, that a report showing air controllers work schedules were causing them to miss sleep chronically and thus contributing to 50% of the errors made by air controllers.  Instead of immediately insuring that air controllers get 8 hours sleep The US Government kept the report secret for years.

The Government in general works to maintain the profits of the bosses, their finance and industry, not the health of the working class as the above adequately demonstrates.  Public health refers to all the organized methods used to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life among the population as a whole.  The US Government’s Public Health Activities receives only 3% of the over Two Trillion dollars spent for health related services.

Only when workers have total control of their working conditions will we have the possibility of making the safety of working people one of the highest priorities of our society.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon is a Family Physician in California who has written many articles on Health and Politics. He can be reached at gordonnayvin@yahoo.com. Read other articles by Nayvin.