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What's New in OSHA: Increasing Positive Messages

Last week's blog post served as the inaugural piece of RCI's "What's New in OSHA" series. We discussed the enacting of the new Construction standard for respirable crystalline silica. This week's post, however, is far more generic and relevant to all areas of OSHA.

OSHA Positive Messages

In a decision that has sparked some controversy, the OSHA website has made a significant alteration. Before, the website featured the gruesome 4,500 annual worker fatality figure, along with names of each of the deceased. According to former OSHA assistant director deputy Jordan Barab, this was done in order to "impress people with the tragedy that workers and their families face every day." Barab criticized the Trump administration for overseeing the decision to remove this section, calling it "a brazen attempt to hide from the public the extent of workplace fatalities in this country."

However, in its place, the site has added a section that praises employees who have promoted safe work programs. They also added some of its Cooperative Programs, which actively seek to prevent worker fatalities.

This change has received positive feedback as well. Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is among them. Freedman called the move "particularly appropriate", and that change to the website was needed. "Everyone knew that we didn’t like what [the Obama administration] had done before and I would say, broadly speaking, a lot of employer-side groups were saying the same thing."

What do you think of this decision? Was it insensitive or wrong to switch the site, or does taking a more positive approach benefit OSHA long-term? Let us know below in the comments!

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