OSHA ordered to disclose injury/illness statistics
The United States District Court for the Southern District in Manhattan has ordered the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to disclose numbers for American workplaces with the worst injury and illness rates.
The ruling came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the New York Times. The newspaper wanted OSHA to release injury rates for 13,000 worksites that have unusually large numbers of injuries and illnesses.
While OSHA has published names of sites where injuries and illnesses are occurring in large numbers, the administration has not disclosed injury rates for specific sites. Nor has it ranked the worst offenders.
OSHA was unsuccessful in persuading Judge Shira Scheindlin that releasing such information would mean disclosing confidential information that could be used by competing companies.
The judge was also critical of OSHA’s claim that newspaper reporters could go to its website and obtain names and addresses of the 13,000 worksites having the most injuries, and then contact those companies requesting injury rates.
She said court clerks had tried finding the names on the website and were unable to locate them. Scheindlin noted OSHA’s website is difficult to navigate.
The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize this year for its investigative articles examining how OSHA responds to workplace deaths.
(submitted by Tony Moscioni)