Thursday night “Frontline” airs (check local PBS listings) “A Dangerous Business,” the result of a nine-month investigation into at least 4600 workplace injuries and nine deaths since 1995 at the plants of McWane, Inc. It is a joint project with the CBC (which aired “A Toxic Company” last night) and the New York Times (which is doing a three part series on the injuries and the company).
The documentary goes beyond the story of the company which makes cast iron water and sewer pipes to examine the failures of federal regulation (the conclusion of the Times series will focus on this tomorrow). The strength of the hour is seeing the graphics photos of the injuries, hearing the stories of the men who were injured (and the families of those who died) and seeing reporters Lowell Bergman and David Barstow confront government officials (the company only provided written responses to questions). The strength of the lengthy newspaper stories is the kind of detail even “Frontline” can’t get into.