Government at practically all levels gets a bad rap just about, well ... everywhere. But we’d all like to think that workplace laws, at least, do an adequate job of protecting workers.
The catch is, the laws actually have to be enforced.
In North Carolina, unfortunately, there’s evidence that they haven’t been. A recent report by the (Raleigh) News & Observer found that the N.C. Industrial Commission has done a lousy job of making sure state businesses and industries maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.
The report showed that there could be as many as 30,000 companies in North Carolina operating without workers’ comp insurance, even though state law requires any business that employs three or more people to buy such insurance or face steep fines.
As industry experts have pointed out, workers’ compensation is designed to help workers financially if they are injured. But just as important, the coverage is used to nudge employers into providing safer workplaces so injuries are minimal.
Without tough enforcement by the N.C. Industrial Commission, workplace safety can become lax, more workers can be injured, and the victims face big bills with no coverage.
Gov. Bev Perdue has pledged to shake up the Industrial Commission and fix the problems.
Here’s hoping the governor follows through with her promise.
Employee safety is too important to leave in the hands of a commission that apparently looks the other way too often.