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Trump Permitting Workplace Accident Coverups

He's dangerously rolling back a regulation that requires employers to report accidents or illnesses on the job

Brian Young's picture
Jul 30, 2018

Late Friday, Trump continued his war against regulations at the Labor Department and OSHA. This time, he made it easier for big companies to hide accidents and injuries that happen on the job.

The rule that is being rolled back was put into place during the Obama administration. It requires big companies, those with over 250 employees, to provide detailed logs of workplace injuries or illness. While federal law already requires companies to document these accidents, the new rule prevented bosses from hiding unsafe working conditions. It also allowed the Labor Department to publicly post-incident reports so that customers could see the safety record of the company that they were about to work with.

Under Trump’s new guidelines, a company would only have to report a tally of incidents, illnesses and days missed rather than a detailed description of each incident. According to OSHA guidelines from before the change an incident report would have said: “When ladder slipped on the wet floor, the worker fell 20 feet.”

The change has received a swift response from labor groups as well as former Labor Department staff. Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit to stop the change saying that it is absurd to think you can protect workers by rolling back this law. Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA employee who helped write the rule, told NBC News that Trump is listening to the employers who are trying to cover up accidents that happen on their watch. She said that the data collected helps officials to understand better how and why workers are being hurt on the job and what OSHA and companies can do to better protect them.

Trump claims that they are rolling back the rule to protect workers personal information that may be disclosed on these reports. Of course, this is information that could easily be redacted from the report before it is published online. The reality is that Trump wants to make his donors who cut costs and injure their workers happy by allowing them to cover up their negligence.

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