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Trump Administration Moves to Rollback Workplace Injury Reporting Requirements

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The Trump Administration has announced its intention to weaken yet another Obama-era regulation, this time targeting a rule aimed at improving the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) tracking of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Obama-Era Rule Required Big Employers to Submit Detailed Workplace Injury Reports

OSHA has long required companies to keep records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses.

But under the Obama Administration, companies with 250 or more employees were also required to electronically submit detailed reports describing individual injuries and illnesses.

Some of the submitted data was publicly posted on OSHA’s website.

Among other things, public disclosure of the data was intended to encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, and the public.

Latest Trump Regulatory Rollback Will Allow Companies to Conceal Dangerous Workplace Conditions

On Friday, OSHA proposed a new regulation that would only require employers to report the total number of workplace injuries, illness, and days of work missed.

The Trump Administration claims its proposal will protect sensitive worker information from public disclosure and reduce burdens on employers, purportedly without jeopardizing workplace safety.

However, labor advocates charge that the weakened reporting requirements will only enable employers to conceal the true extent of work-related injuries and illnesses.

“The existing rule is in place to protect workers,” Sean Sherman, an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group, told NBC News. “The idea that you can protect workers by rolling back a strong worker protection is absurd.”

“This is about the administration listening to employers who don’t want workers and the public to know about dangerous conditions,” said Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA official who worked on the original reporting requirements.

Berkowitz added that any personal or sensitive information could easily be redacted before being publicly posted on OSHA’s website.

OSHA Inspections Down in Trump Era

This isn’t the first time the Trump Administration has acted to weaken OSHA, which is tasked with ensuring safe and healthy conditions at workplaces throughout the country.

Since the President took office, the number of inspectors employed by OSHA has been reduced from 814 in 2017 to 764 as of January 2018

Not surprisingly, OSHA inspections have dropped off significantly, with the agency reporting 1,163 fewer Enforcement Units, or EUs, during the first 5 months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

OSHA EUs also fell in 2017 compared to 2016, from 42,900 to 41,829.

Regulations to Prevent Deadly Plant, Pipeline, and Refinery Explosions in Trump’s Crosshairs

OSHA is far from the only agency feeling the Trump Administration’s regulatory axe.

Since the President took office in 2017, dozens of regulations meant to protect workers and the public from deadly plant, refinery, and pipeline explosions have been weakened, if not entirely eliminated.

For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation has reduced or abolished more than a dozen safety regulations, including many that were enacted to reduce the risk of catastrophic spills and explosions along the nation’s massive network of oil and natural gas pipelines.

Numerous other regulations proposed during the Obama Administration to prevent deadly workplace  explosions – including the Chemical Disaster Rule, OSHA’s combustible dust standard, and important offshore drilling regulations  – have either been severely curtailed or abandoned entirely.

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Having won more than $1 Billion and successfully represented over 1,000 workers throughout  Texas, Louisiana, and across the United States who were injured or tragically killed in connection with the worst plant, refinery, and pipeline explosion in recent memory, our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers have the resources and ability to hold negligent employers accountable and ensure that our clients and their families are fully compensated for all of their injuries and losses.

If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options following a workplace explosion or accident call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form.”

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