Oklahoma labor commissioner speaks against public release of workplace injury records

In Washington, Republican Mark Costello takes pro-business stance in a dispute that pits organized labor against employers.
by Chris Casteel Published: January 10, 2014

However, he said, a large number of employers are already providing the information to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and would be required to send duplicate data to OSHA.

Also, he said, specific information about an illness or injury could lead to the public identification of an employee, even if his or her name is not included.

Organized labor groups have been generally supportive of the proposed rule, while business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have expressed opposition.

Costello said he was siding with employers because “the labor commissioner is supposed to look out for the interest of wage earners.”

“It is not in the interest of wage earners to declare war against job creators, particularly when it doesn't lead to safety,” he said here after making his public comments.

Tulsa Democrat Mike Workman, who is planning to run against Costello this year, said Thursday that Costello's trip to Washington wasn't an “appropriate use of time and resources. I think he needs to be more concerned about making records more transparent and accessible.”

OSHA is taking public comments on the proposed rule through March 8.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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