OSHA encourages a snapshot of safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA, www.osha.gov) is holding its Picture It! Safe Workplaces for Everyone photography contest (www.osha.gov/osha40/photo-contest.html). Just weeks after the contest began, several workers in a Chinese plant were killed and more were injured in a blast.

Yes, OSHA is indeed part of the U.S. Department of Labor, so what does its photo contest have to do with industrial plant safety in China? Well, that depends on how seriously U.S. companies are about safety.

The Foxconn plant in Chengdu, China, is part of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industries, which runs plants in countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. The explosion in the Chinese plant was blamed on magnesium dust.

Now OSHA's jurisdiction doesn't extend outside the United States, so what does an explosion in China have to do with OSHA' photo contest?

This plant supplies goods to U.S. technology companies, and that means these companies have an opportunity to force change in labor safety practices and standards.

Get the picture?

U.S. companies have historically made their suppliers comply with a variety of issues and standards, so why should safety be any different?

Go ahead and enter the OSHA photo contest with photos of your U.S. plant, but if you have photos from other countries, we'll be glad to post them here.