North & South Carolina OSHA Programs Should Be More Transparent

Workplace safety issues are of paramount importance and it is essential for a regulatory agency to look out for the rights of workers and to ensure that employers maintain a safe workplace and don’t create dangerous environments.

At the federal level, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is in charge of establishing and enforcing workplace safety guidelines. OSHA also operates in more than half of the states as the main regulatory authority. 1109654_first_news.jpg

However, 22 states and jurisdictions have their own OSHA programs in place. According to OSHA, these 22 states must have had their plans approved by the federal agency and may receive as much as 50 percent of their operating costs from the federal government. Our Asheville work injury attorneys know that both North and South Carolina are among the states with their own OSHA programs.

The OSHA programs in North and South Carolina must comply with the federal OSHA requirements, and the state authorities provide many important protections for workers. However, the state OSHAs do not regularly report when employers have been cited or fined. The federal government does have a news reporting system. Creating such a program at the state level would allow for more transparency and would help to make workplaces throughout North and South Carolina a little bit safer.

OSHA News Releases
At the federal level, OSHA issues news releases routinely when a company has been cited for a violation. These news releases include information about the name of the company, what the violation was and when it occurred. They are broken down by region and are available on the OSHA News Releases page on the website of the United States Department of Labor.

Because of the availability of these news releases, it is quick and easy to see when an employer has made errors and has violated workplace safety rules. An employee who wants to find out about a potential employer can visit the OSHA website to see reports of violations. The reports are compiled all in one place and provide information that makes it possible to monitor violations closely.

Although North Carolina and South Carolina both have their own OSHA, which is responsible for inspecting and citing businesses just as the federal OSHA does, neither North Carolina nor South Carolina have a similar mechanism for releasing and assembling news of their actions.

Let’s be honest — state OSHA departments in North and South Carolina simply are not as transparent. As a result, workers in North and South Carolina and are not getting all of the data and information that they might easily be able to receive if the federal agency was in charge instead.

In the interests of transparency, in the interests of making their work public and in the interests of helping workers, North and South Carolina OSHAs should strongly consider better reporting where news of violations and citations are an important factor in creating a safer state in which to work.

Not only can this help empower employees, but also employers in the state might be shamed by the idea of receiving a public citation. This would provide an added incentive (in addition to the fines and other OSHA-imposed penalties) to avoid violations that could cause workers to get hurt.

If you have been injured in a work accident, contact the Asheville injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Roadside Workplace Injury Prevention Necessary During Spring Construction season, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 30, 2013

New Hires and Work Accidents in the Carolinas, North Carolina Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, March 28, 2013  

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