Oklahoma labor commissioner opposes proposed OSHA regulation

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello will travel to Washington on Thursday to testify against a proposed federal regulation that federal labor officials have touted as a way to improve workplace safety.
by Randy Ellis Modified: January 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm •  Published: January 6, 2014
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“Public posting of workplace injury and illness information will nudge employers to better identify and eliminate hazards,” Michaels said.

“Employers want to be seen as the top performers in their industry. Just as some corporations strive to demonstrate their commitment to reducing pollution, or using renewable energy, we believe that responsible employers will want to be recognized as leaders in safety.”

Businesses already are required to collect and keep the information at their work sites.

The proposed regulation would just make the information publicly accessible.

‘Fraught with peril'

Costello contends it also will have unintended consequences.

“It creates an incentive for some people to be dishonest,” Costello said. “It creates a further burden on the businesses, themselves. It also would create a pick list for attorneys to cherry pick records (for potential lawsuits).”

“It would allow lawyers to solicit business, it would diminish entrepreneurial activity, job creation,” he said. “It's fraught with peril.”

Costello said the proposed regulation also would be divisive because competitors would use comparative safety data against each other in job recruitment.

“There's no proof that this actually improves safety, and if it does, it may be marginal,” Costello said.

He said if federal officials are convinced the change would be beneficial, they should try it out on a test basis before implementing it nationwide.

Costello said he is scheduled to testify 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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