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Radio Silence at OSHA

How Trump killing the OSHA press release policy makes American workplaces even more dangerous

Brian Young's picture
Aug 07, 2017

Since Trump got elected some drastic changes have been seen within government. Major policies have changed, officials have quit, and department priorities have changed. At OSHA, this policy change has led to the department almost ceasing to release press releases.  A new study out of Duke University says that this reduction in press will lead to an increase in injuries.

OSHA began issuing press releases in 2009 after David Michaels took over the leadership of OSHA. One of the reasons why OSHA began issuing these releases was to shame the business, but it was also to draw local press attention to the violations. UCOMM recently routinely ran their press, seeing the value of what Michaels was trying to do. A new study from Duke University finds that every press release led to 73% fewer injuries within a 3-mile radius, an area known as the peer radius. The releases played the dual role of a threat to local businesses that they would see their name on the news if they were trying to cut corners and pushed local businesses to take a second look at their own safety violations before OSHA stepped in. OSHA, which oversees 130 million working Americans, only has an investigative staff of about 2,100 and they conduct only 41,000 inspections a year.  Through the issuance of press releases, this policy was a highly effective policy.

Since Trump took over, OSHA has issued almost no releases.  So far in 2017, only 29 press releases have been issued and 18 of those were from when Obama was still President. In comparison from January to June of 2016, 263 were issued. Additionally, no one has been made head of OSHA and most senior advisor positions are still vacant. This has many worried that the gains in worker safety that were made over the last eight years will disappear. Based on their information, Matthew Johnson, the author of the study, extrapolates that injuries might increase if the Trump administration keeps up this policy of radio silence at OSHA.  

By cow towing to the wishes of businesses that are violating the law, Trump is making it more dangerous to work in America. He is cutting budgets at the Labor Department and OSHA and is cutting off one of their most effective tools to keep your workplace safe and in essence bring in revenue from OSHA violators to be one of the governments only self-sufficient revenue generators.

Knock, Knock.
Who's There?
Aren't ya.
Arent ya who?
Aren't you glad that you voted for Trump.

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