Author: Jordan Barab

Jordan Barab was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA from 2009 to 2017, and spent 16 years running the safety and health program at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. He writes regularly at

A Guide to Understanding Workplace Death After 18 years or writing about workplace safety, sometimes it seems like Groundhog Day — the movie, not the weather-predicting rodent. One of the groundhoggiest themes I write about is the news media’s habit of terming workplace incidents “freak accidents.”  I’ve been writing about so-called “freak accidents” since 2003 (See here and here.) What are “freak accidents?” Well, Wiktionary defines a “freak accident” as “an incident, especially one that is harmful, occurring under highly unusual and unlikely circumstances.” if it really is just a freak accident, you don’t really have to do much about it because it’s just one of…

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