OSHA is preparing to release new requirements for company incident reporting. It intends to make accident and injury information available to the public, a possibility that has many in industry concerned. For those companies, the future is now. A new website gives the public unprecedented access to information on company violations.
A watchdog group named Good Jobs First now posts what it calls Violation Tracker, listing fine amounts by corporation for a variety of agencies, including OSHA. There is a very good analysis on the Safety News Alert website here.
Many have already accused OSHA of taking a “name-and-shame” approach to violators, but the Good Jobs First group takes it a step further. It also identifies corporate subsidies from government.
We live in a very visible, public world. In many ways that is a good thing, but it means that companies really need to understand that breaking the rules has costs that go well beyond the simple fine. In many cases, violations and fines bring public scrutiny, and public scrutiny may cause regulators to attach higher fines, which in turn brings more scrutiny. Depending on your perspective it is either a vicious or a virtuous cycle.