Under the Obama administration it became common practice for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to publish press releases every time there was a death or a serious injury at an employer worksite. The hope was that the local press would spread the word, and the bad publicity would spur other employers to pay more attention to safety standards.
There is not definitive proof this practice actually lowered accident rates, but it certainly rattled employers who didn’t want their names associated with deaths and injuries. Statistics do show that when press releases went out, there were fewer injuries and safety violations. Under the Trump administration there have been fewer press releases.
Despite that, it doesn’t mean inspections are dropping off, and staffing firms, like all employers, should be aware of the fact that once key positions have been filled at OSHA, the press releases could start again. And in states such as California where it’s made its mission to strengthen state standards since Trump took office, this tool may be put to use. If the fear of bad publicity is helping employers pay more attention to safety, this means fewer accidents and lower workers’ comp costs.
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