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Study: OSHA press releases reduced workplace violations

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2020 | Workers' Compensation |

Perhaps you work in manufacturing, health care or another industry in California that can affect public health and safety. Some experts are recommending that OSHA should publicize any serious violations in these industries as a way to improve safety. It’s a practice that OSHA had, in fact, initiated with a policy back in 2009, but it was discontinued in 2017.

Press releases: a “regulation of shaming”

Under that policy, OSHA issued a press release about any company guilty of a workplace safety violation where the fines totaled at least $40,000. OSHA’s administrator at that time called it a “regulation of shaming” that would deter nearby businesses from falling into the same mistakes. It also served an educational purpose to any business owners unclear about OSHA requirements.

Their effectiveness, according to one study

As for whether the policy worked, a Duke University economist emphatically says yes. He found that whenever OSHA “shamed” a company with bad publicity, there was a 73% decrease in violations among similar companies in a five-kilometer radius. For those companies in a 10-km radius, he noted a 36% reduction. In a 50-km radius, there was a still-significant 30% decrease.

Along with this decline in violations was a lower number of on-the-job injuries and fatalities. The economist could not specify how many fatal incidents the policy was able to prevent, but he was clear that the publicity did much to prevent some of the more serious types of incidents. He also determined that OSHA would have to conduct 210 inspections to achieve an effect equal to that wrought by these press releases.

Legal assistance for injured workers

It could be that you were injured on the job through no particular fault of your own, let alone your employer or supervisor. If this is so, you can still file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits, which cover wage replacement and all medical expenses. California allows settlements to be paid out in some cases. Employers can deny these benefits, though, which will mean filing an appeal. Considering how this is a difficult time for you, it may be wise to have legal assistance.

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