David Michaels, the head of the Labor Departments Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated on Jan 4th that an increasing number of US employers are embracing the notion that protection worker safety is good for business.
His feeling is that a large segment of American businesses have not accepted the doctrine of managing for safety.
There are many, many other employers who are unaware of our standards, or have some idea that they might be making a mistake, or that there might be a violation, but for whatever reason don’t feel like they need to abate that hazard immediately,
Currently OSHA deploys “different tools for different types of employers, but man of those tools all focus on the same thing: saying not just, ‘Abate hazards,’ but really, ‘Change what you’re doing in the workplace in a way that makes a big difference and that will really reduce injury and illness,’”. according to Michaels.
One of the tools OSHA has at it’s disposal are the press release, which they use to publicly share citations. The idea is that this public “shaming” will deter other employers from violating the law.
While companies frequently complain about the press releases, Michaels defends the use stating it’s “a common law enforcement technique to discourage others from getting in that same situation. And I think it’s been effective. We have to look at the effectiveness of all our tools, and it’s one of the arrows in our quiver.”
Michaels also said that OSHA will see more collaborations with NIOSH in the future. As part of the CDC, NIOSH is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illnesses.
What are your thoughts on the public nature of the press releases, are they effective?