Between 2009 and 2017, companies in Ohio and throughout the country that incurred serious OSHA violations would be named in a press release. According to one study conducted by an economist from Duke, the policy of publicly shaming violators helped to curtail violations. Specifically, the study found that there was a 73% decrease in violations incurred by companies located within 5 kilometers of a major violator that was publicly shamed.
That was estimated to be equivalent to 210 OSHA inspections. The study also found that there was a 36% decrease in violations among organizations located within 10 kilometers of a business that had been publicly outed for its bad behavior. According to the economist, the decline in violations was likely the result of companies looking to avoid bad press. Union representatives were also able to use a company’s safety record against it when it came time to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.
A decline in violations generally resulted in fewer workplace accidents, injuries and deaths. However, the study was unable to determine the exact type of violations that were less likely to occur in the aftermath of a press release. It is believed that workplace safety could be an area in which members of both parties could work together in an election year.
Employees who are exposed to unsafe working conditions might be at a higher risk of getting hurt or sick on the job. Workers who break a bone, pull a muscle or obtain an illness because of an employer’s negligence may be entitled to financial compensation. This could help pay medical bills or recoup lost wages. An attorney may be able to answer any questions a worker might have about applying for workers’ compensation benefits or take other steps to help with a case.