Steve Marr Blog

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Aug 28

On the Job Safety

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The Department of Labor reported in 2015 that 4,830 workers were killed in job related accidents. Behind each death is a tragedy for the individual and many family members. Some jobs carry more risk than others, like commercial fishing and the lumber industry, while other occupations are relatively safe. We have a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure safety for our employees. The Lord instructed Moses, "When you build a new house, you must build a railing around the edge of its flat roof. That way you will not be considered guilty of murder if someone falls from the roof.” (Deuteronomy 22:8, NLT)


In reflecting on this scripture, what struck me clearly was that building a house without a reasonable safety device, in this case a railing, made the builder and owner guilty of murder should someone fall and die. Aside from the legal consequences, we also face the Lord’s judgment when our negligence causes another person’s death.

Most business owners I know would not knowingly put a person at risk. Some owners however are more cavalier. “Adam” worked for an over-the-road tracking company and Adam brought numerous safety violations to the attention of management who ignored his reports. Some of the violations included problems with the brake system. You can imagine the risk of driving a 45,000-pound rig downhill with the possibility of a brake failure. Wisely, Adam resigned.    

I read an account some years ago about a fireworks manufacturer who was repeatedly cited for improper storing of flammable materials near a heat source. One day the product ignited causing a major explosion and killing several workers. After investigation the local prosecutor charged the owner with criminal murder, and the owner was convicted. The court demonstrated that the owner had received multiple warnings and had ample opportunities to remove the risk, but failed.

We may not be able to eliminate all job related hazards. I know a salesman who was killed when a truck ran a red light and struck his car. Police officers and firefighters are killed on the job too frequently. Our responsibility is to follow the scriptural mandate and provide reasonable safeguards to ensure the safety of others to the best of our ability. If a tragic event occurred, we wouldn’t need to look back and wonder what we could have or should have done differently.

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