OSHA added something new to its Web site this week.
Now with just a couple mouse clicks, the whole world can see which U.S. companies had an employee fatality in the previous week.
Example: For the week of Aug. 28, 2009, OSHA’s Weekly Fatality Report lists 18 incidents. First on the list is an incident involving Tri-State Electrical Contracting, Inc., Bay Terrace, NY. The Web page lists Nature of Incident as “victim was operating a knuckle boom truck and was crushed between the boom and the controls.”
That’s all the information given.
While the Web page explains how OSHA receives the incident information, there’s no word (at least as of the writing of this article) on what purpose the agency thinks posting this information will serve.
So, we have two guesses:
- OSHA hopes employers use the information in safety training to show workers the real-life consequences of various workplace hazards, or
- OSHA is posting the information to call attention to companies that just experienced a worker fatality or other catastrophe.
There are two potential problems with either of these uses. If these are meant to be used as teaching lessons for employees, the items are light on detail. If this is meant as a Wall of Shame for the companies involved, OSHA is posting the information before investigations can be completed, and before exact cause for the incident can be determined.
One more note: When the page for the Weekly Fatality Reports first appeared on OSHA’s Web site, many may not have found it. To access it, you had to find a one-line clickable link among everything on OSHA’s home page. A few days later, OSHA made it highly noticeable, front and center, in a bright blue box in the middle of its home page.
While safety pros can agree that sharing information about workplace fatalities can help prevent similar incidents from happening, it’s not entirely clear what OSHA’s intention of posting the information is.
What do you think? Is this useful information for safety training? Let us know in the Comments Box below.