Do you think you might be a safer driver if your traffic convictions and accidents were posted on line and easily searchable so that all your neighbors and friends could look your record up?
If your answer to that question is “yes”, then you’ll like a new rule by the Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) which makes companies’ safety records easily available on a government website.
Why this new rule? The shame factor. OSHA’s thinking is that if companies with a bad safety record know their record will not remain hidden is some dusty notebook in a government basement, but rather see the light of day on the world-wide web, they might think twice about cutting safety corners. In addition, prospective employees will be able to compare, when deciding which job to accept, not only the wages of the employers but also their safety records. As a side benefit, personal injury lawyers like me can build negligence cases against repeat offenders with greater ease.
This new online posting rule is really no different from what health departments already do when they inspect a restaurant. If they find a dirty stove, or a dead rat, or cockroaches, they post a failing grade on the offending restaurant’s window. The fear of this bad publicity makes restaurants stay clean. If the report were hidden, it wouldn’t have the same effect.
Despite the obvious public benefit of the “open sunshine” rule, manufacturers and businesses are balking. They claim the safety data could be “misinterpreted” by the general public. But what they are really afraid of is a shameful truth. The truth is that three to five million workers are injured on the job in the U.S. each year, and most of those injuries are totally preventable. All companies have to do to prevent most injuries is follow existing safety rules. But they don’t because it is cheaper not to. The online “wall of shame” will make it more expensive because the bad publicity might hurt their pocketbooks more than paying to keep things safe.
And that’s a good thing. Hats off to OSHA.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.