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Where there is a will, there is a way.

 
 
 

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年过半百,经历坎坷.少年遇"文革",下乡八载,虽历经磨难,唯斗志不减,农耕间隙自学不辍,终守得云开日出,考进大学.大学毕业后先后经历了中学执教,国企管理,外企高管,最后回归重执教鞭.目前在家精心培养有志掌握英语的中小学生. 我最大的愿望就是看到孩子学有所成,桃李天下.

我新发表的文章《致命大火应成为积极的财富》  

2013-06-17 13:21:00|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

  下载LOFTER 我的照片书  |
 

前言:2013年6月3日早晨吉林德惠市米沙子镇宝源丰禽业公司发生火灾,造成121人丧生,77人受伤。死伤者大部分是当地农民。这些无辜的生命本可以避免丧失的,但黑心的管理层将所有逃生通道都锁上了,说是防止工人偷懒或上厕所,导致工人逃生无门。这种对生命的漠视在中国企业普遍存在,工人被当成了工作机器,任意处置。

这么多无辜生命不能白白丢失,血的教训必须换来彻底的改变,否则这样的悲剧将不断重演。

也许发生在100多年前的另一场大火能给我们很好的启迪。1911年3月25日美国芝加哥一家服装厂发生大火,烧死了146名制衣女工,大部分是年仅16-21岁的外来移民。她们的死因与吉林大火死者惊人相似,资方平时也是将所有通道都上锁防止工人偷懒或盗窃,导致惨重伤亡。

这场惊天大火后,美国人痛定思痛,决心亡羊补牢,杜绝类似灾难。社会各界积极行动,从各方面采取措施来弥补损失。其中主要措施包括成立 一个调查委员会,彻底调查事故真相,并彻底检查纽约所有工厂的安全设施和制度,将所有可能的漏洞都弥补。委员会提出的无数具体建议导致许多保障劳工权利的法律。

从此以后,美国再也没有发生过类似的工业伤亡事故。一次致命大火换来了一个多世纪的安全,这样的灾难就成了有价值的损失。

希望中国也能有同样的结果。

Fatal fire should lead to action

 

Wu Guangqiang

 

INDUSTRIAL accidents with heavy casualties have been reported frequently in recent years, but none have been more heart-wrenching than the deadly fire that broke out on June 3 at a poultry slaughterhouse in Mishazi Township of Dehui City, Jilin Province, claiming 121 lives and injuring 77.

Most of the victims could have escaped death or injuries if factory managers had shown a shred of risk awareness or respect for life.

An investigation team sent by the State Council has identified the blaze as “a serious accident caused by negligence.” When panic-stricken workers tried to flee, they couldn’t find a way out because almost all the doors had been locked. Survivors said five of the six doors in the workshop were kept locked to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks or using the toilet. There were no fire exits in the entire building. The most ridiculous thing was that local fire safety authorities had inspected the slaughterhouse just three days before the blaze.

Though authorities are earnestly coping with the aftermath of the disaster, including conducting a transparent and thorough investigation, working to identify bodies and negotiating compensation plans for the victims’ families, and though some people responsible for the blaze have been detained and top officials have made public apologies, the public will remain skeptical about whether such fatal disasters can be thoroughly ceased until a fundamental overhaul is carried out.

This tragedy reminds me of another infamous lethal blaze: Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. There are striking similarities between the two fires, though they occurred more than a century apart. But what Americans did after the blaze is instructive for us.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, one of the deadliest industrial disasters in the history of the United States, took place in New York City on March 25, 1911, and caused the deaths of 146 garment workers. Most of the victims were new immigrant women aged 16 to 23. The heavy loss of life resulted from the management’s merciless rule: All the doors to the stairwells and exits be locked — a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks.

Such industrial accidents may be unavoidable during any nation’s industrialization, but if lessons are not learned and remedial measures not taken, these innocent lives will be lost for nothing and such tragedies will happen again and again.

In the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, many things were done to heal the wound. The company’s owners were indicted on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in mid-April 1911, and the pair’s trial began on Dec. 4. Unfortunately, the jury acquitted the two men, but they lost a subsequent civil suit in 1913 in which plaintiffs won compensation in the amount of US$75 per deceased victim. In 1913, Max Blanck, one of the owners, was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory during working hours. He was fined US$20.

The public outrage over the horrific loss of life led to the creation of a nine-member Factory Investigating Commission. The Commission undertook a thorough examination of safety and working conditions in New York factories and its recommendations led to what is called “the golden era in remedial factory legislation.” Between 1911 and 1914, 36 new laws reforming the state labor code were enacted. New laws mandated better building access and egress, fireproofing requirements, the availability of fire extinguishers, the installation of alarm systems and automatic sprinklers, better eating and toilet facilities for workers, and limited numbers of hours that women and children could work.

All those efforts can be characterized by a remark by Frances Perkins, a member of the Factory Investigating Commission who became the secretary of labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She witnessed the horror and later said that what she saw convinced her that “…something must be done. We’ve got to turn this into some kind of victory, some kind of constructive action.”

Perkins, working with others, soon helped marshal new workplace safety standards into law in the state of New York, setting an example for the rest of the country. Fewer deadly industrial accidents have occurred since in the United States.

To curb such tragedies in China, it is imperative that more legislation be drafted to protect labor rights, that stricter workplace safety codes are made and effectively implemented, and that violators are severely punished. And more importantly, the public’s right to know and laborers’ participation in workplace safety management must be ensured.

 

(The author is an English tutor and a freelance writer.)

 

 

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