Another day, another Obama Administration policy undone for no apparent reason, other than because it was an Obama Administration policy, perhaps.
Politico reported Friday that “The federal department charged with protecting workers erased data on workplace deaths from the home page of its website Friday — and changed its policy to disclose fewer fatal accidents in the future.”
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, memorialized workers killed on the job prominently above the fold on its home page. The running list featured their names, the date of thier passing, and the cause of death. “The list included every worker death reported to OSHA, regardless of whether the company was issued a citation,” Ian Kullgren of Politico states.
The move quickly drew the ire of workplace safety and worker rights organizations, understandably. “It’s a conscious decision to bury the fact that workers are getting killed on the job,” Debbie Berkowitz, an Obama era OSHA advisor, told Politico. “That is totally what it is, so that [Labor Secretary Alexander] Acosta can say, ‘Hey, industry is doing a great job and we’re going to help them.'”
“I just think this is one more action by the administration to make it clear that they are not really interested in protecting workers. They are more interested in hiding the data and hiding fatalities,” Berkowitz told The Hill.
Trump’s OSHA team hasn’t eliminated the workplace fatality list completely. Instead, they’ve lodged it deep on a difficult-to-find page within the site, and they’ve omitted instances of worker fatalities that didn’t result in a fine for the employer. A Labor Department spokeswoman said the list was moved to better protect the “privacy” of the workers and their families.
But it’s difficult to see the move as anything other than a scheme to appease big construction, manufacturers, and other industries who would like nothing more than their worker safety records scrubbed – all at workers expense.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.