Trump administration criticized for restricting access to OSHA fatality data that could save worker lives.
Politico is reporting that workplace fatalities are no longer being prominently featured on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website. The new fatality list is buried on an internal page and does not include deaths unless a citation was issued.
Data used to include names, dates, and cause of death regardless of whether a citation had been issued. This change will result in about 20 percent fewer reported workplace fatalities.
Fatality data is published to help employers build hazard awareness and prevent risk for similar occurrences in the workplace. It is valuable information that saves lives. Critics accuse the Trump administration of withholding this information.
Our 2 cents
We have blogged about workplace fatalities on many different occasions. Michigan had 43 worker deaths in 2016 and this was the highest number in a decade. This statistic does not include federal employees or the self-employed.
Michigan workers’ compensation law only pays $6,000 for a burial expense. Families cannot sue for additional damages. Dependents can receive wage loss benefits but only under specific circumstances. Spouses must prove factual dependency and will be disqualified if receiving substantial income from another source. Children 16 and up must also prove factual dependency.
We are saddened by this news and hope OSHA changes its course. More needs to be done to prevent workplace fatalities. Increasing criminal and civil penalties is a good start. We also need to fix Michigan’s workers’ compensation law.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Tracy Hunter.