Workplace Safety Requires the Full Story

By January 9, 2014Labor Unions

NAM’s Labor Employment Policy Team took part in OSHA’s public meeting on their proposed rule to publicize injury and illness data. From the outset, the NAM has opposed this rule for a few very simple reasons: 1) OSHA has the tools they need to improve workplace safety at their disposal already; 2) This data would be presented without context and could result in a serious misrepresentation of a particular company or industry; 3) This rule gets us no closer to the shared goal of a safer workplace.

A safe workplace is the top priority of manufacturers. Joe Trauger, NAM’s VP of Human Resources Policy, and Amanda Wood, NAM’s Director of Employment Policy, spoke on behalf of manufacturers at today’s public meeting. The comments they offered centered around the following themes – the current regulations are already working, public disclosure is detrimental to employers, the forced disclosure of proprietary information, and a violation of individual privacy rights. These themes were repeated throughout the day by other participants concerned with the impact of OSHA’s proposed rule.

Mr. Trauger closed the NAM’s comments by stating, “I would like to take a moment to remind the agency that manufacturers do not and cannot view regulations singularly as we so often do here in Washington. Manufacturers don’t have the luxury of focusing on or complying with one regulation at a time – they must comply with them all. This proposed regulation, on the heels of the recent Letter of Interpretation with respect to unions and or community organizations accompanying an OSHA inspector in non-unionized facilities, is alarming and viewed with great skepticism within the employer community.”

He’s absolutely right – the fallout from such a rule could be devastating to a company or industry judged on incomplete or misleading data. Instead let’s get OSHA focused on working more collaboratively with employers so they can reach the goal they both share – a safer workplace.

 

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