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OSHA proposal would use shaming to improve workplace safety

Safety at the workplace is a concern for all of us, and it is important to know that the federal and state agencies responsible for enforcing safety regulations are working under policies that actually improve workplace safety. Doing so isn't always easy for agencies, which have limited resources. Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in an effort to help make its enforcement efforts more effective, has proposed a new rule that would require employers to submit data about workplace injuries and illnesses.

The proposal would, according to critics, essentially work by shaming employers. To the extent that the proposal qualifies as a remedial approach to enforcing safety rules, it is argued, it will be ineffective. The alternative would be to focus on positive measures employers can take in improve workplace safety and prevent accidents and injuries to employees. The key, perhaps, is whether enforcement policies encourage employers to be internally motivated to improve measures. 

Whether or not measures that use public shaming to force employers to improve safety practices are effective may be argued. What cannot be argued is that employees have the right to be adequately compensated when they are injured on the job, particularly when the negligence of their employer is to blame. Unfortunately, employers do not always support their employers they way they should.

Those who are having trouble receiving the care they need in response to an accident at the workplace should contact an experienced workers' comp lawyer. Doing so will help them to identify their rights, potential avenues for legal action, and the likely outcome of their case. 

Source: Forbes, "Will OSHA's Shame Game Improve Workplace Safety?," Janet Novack, January 8, 2014. 

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