Over the decades, and even the past century, federal and state laws in our country have changed how employers treat safety. Employees today have a much greater assurance of safety than they did a century ago, but that doesn't mean tragic incidents don't occur in modern work environments. As late as a decade ago, an explosion in an oil refinery in another state injured 170 people and killed 15 people, so these accidents do happen. But are they less common now that safety practices are more prevalent?
A Public Broadcasting System show, "American Experience," published a timeline of some of the deadliest workplace accidents in the history of the nation. The timeline starts with an 1860 accident that took place in another state. The incident, which occurred in a cotton mill, involved the collapse of a building and the death of around 145 people. Another 166 people were reportedly injured in the accident.