Businesses slam OSHA plans for public workplace safety database

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The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants to require large companies to file all workplace injuries and illnesses into an electronic database available to the public. The group says such regulations would put pressure on companies to better comply with safety rules and allow other businesses to learn from others' mistakes.

"Our proposed requirement will enable the public, researchers and OSHA to work together to prevent injury and illnesses more effectively," said OSHA Head David Michaels.

The proposed reporting rule, announced last Thursday, would require private companies with 250 employees or more to provide a quarterly report of major injuries that occur at a worksite, as well as the cause of the injury.
The business community is having none of it, however.

"Just because you have an injury, it does not mean there was employer fault," said Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the US Chamber of Commerce. "Reporting the injury records does not tell the full story of the company."

Freedman's sentiment is common among business professionals, who feel the data will "mislead" both government organizations and the public.

OSHA's move is part of a greater effort to deter companies from having unsafe workplaces. Michaels has often called for higher penalties for workers who are injured or killed on the job, but Congress has so far declined to give the group that authority.

OSHA hopes the public database will accomplish the same goal without higher fines to employers.
The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed regulation through February 6.

Story provided by:  ibamag.com