Today, the NAM filed supplemental comments to OSHA’s proposed rule publicizing injury and illness data of private employers. In January, the NAM’s Labor and Employment Policy team participated in a public hearing on this rule and 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. Nothing has changed to mitigate these concerns – improbably, the rule is getting worse
In August, OSHA reopened the rule posing several questions, without any actual regulatory text. What OSHA appears to be doing is adding new provisions to the rule as well as additional burdens and confusion to employers.
For example, if an employer has a stellar record for being injury and illness free for several months, the employer, to boost morale and to show the company’s safety record, may prominently post this for employees and customers to see. Defying logic, however, supplements to the rule would a classify this type of posting as discouraging employees from reporting injuries and illnesses in the workplace. OSHA could therefore cite an employer for this. Despite a reality devoid of data, scientific studies or research to back up OSHA’s assertion, they are moving forward in this misguided thinking.
OSHA should take time now to apply the fundamental question to its rule making process – does it make the workplace safer? Unfortunately, in this case it misses the mark.
Amanda Wood is Director of Employment Policy for the National Association of Manufacturers