CHICAGO — American Drycleaner received the following in response to a story appearing on its website on March 3, 2011, “Worker Dies in Laundry Accident.”
Last Thursday’s report in American Drycleaner and American Laundry News on the fatality at a New York City plant sensationalized this terrible loss. While the article could have addressed prevention, potential regulatory response or how the company was handling the tragedy, this text read like a press release issued by the “star” personal-injury lawyer David Perecman.
Although we all have limited editorial staffs, our readers, the textile-services community, are entitled to professional news coverage. This article contained little objectivity and provided credence to Perecman’s unsubstantiated assumptions and blanket statements. Most damaging was the reinforcement of the attorney’s unsupported view that these incidents “are unfortunately not rare.”
In fact, drycleaning, industrial laundry and linen-supply companies have made tremendous improvements in protecting workers. According to the Labor Department, drycleaning and laundry services’ illness and injury incidence rates were down 24% in 2009 from 2006-2008. Surveys by TRSA reflect the effectiveness of our SafeTRSA program: members’ incidences are down 50% in 2009 from 2005, and 18% from 2008.
Hopefully, moving forward, articles addressing such serious issues as accidents and deaths will be treated with an eye toward helping the industry improve safety and respond accordingly.
Joseph Ricci, CAE