LETTERS

The Baltimore Sun

Make an example of peanut magnate

The recent reports that the owner of Peanut Corp. of America, Stewart Parnell, knowingly introduced tainted food into the marketplace, and apparently did so on a routine basis, shows what a crapshoot the integrity of our food chain is ("Peanut company's owner refuses House queries," Feb. 12).

Short of inspecting 100 percent of our food, no amount of stepped-up food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration will keep us safe from such amoral and criminal behavior.

Mr. Parnell needs to be severely dealt with so that others who might be willing to release tainted food will think twice before doing so.

A long prison sentence resulting from a manslaughter or murder charge would be appropriate.

Or dare we think about the Chinese solution?

Warren Kendig, Ellicott City

Do more to prevent workplace injuries

Two recent workplace injuries (one fatal) in the Baltimore area may help draw attention to the fact that each day in the U.S., workers suffer injury, disability and death from workplace incidents ("Man injured in crane accident," Feb. 6, and "Domino worker dies," Feb. 5).

In fact, more than 4 million workers experience a nonfatal occupational injury or illness annually. And the most disabling workplace injuries in this country cost us an astronomical $48.3 billion a year in worker's compensation costs alone.

While some jobs, such as those in construction and transportation, are associated with particularly high rates of fatal injuries, no industry is immune.

And while tragedies such as the ones cited above remind us of the inherent dangers of some jobs, we should also be reminded that decades of research have yielded important discoveries about how to prevent many workplace injuries.

It's time for employers to bolster efforts to promote workplace safety. Work environments must be designed or changed to minimize the likelihood of injuries. Equipment should meet the strictest safety standards, and hazardous practices need to be corrected.

Workers should also receive adequate safety training and the best available protective gear.

Maryland workers deserve no less.

Keshia M. Pollack Susan Baker, Baltimore

The writes are professors at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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