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Shame may convince companies to do better

In 2009, OSHA instituted a rule that said any company in Florida and around the country that was fined more than $40,000 would be mentioned in a press release. The goal was to shame businesses into taking steps that would lead to safer workplaces. An economist from Duke University did a study into whether shame was an effective tool for getting organizations to change their ways. The study results suggest that the answer was yes.

After a company was publicly shamed, violations at companies within five kilometers of that organization went down by 73%. It is estimated that OSHA would need to do 210 inspections to achieve such a decline in violations if it wasn't able to issue press releases. One of the reasons why shaming is effective is that no business wants to receive negative press. Ultimately, companies want to avoid the negative consequences that others had experienced after incurring a major OSHA violation.

A reduction in violations typically leads to a decrease in workplace injuries. However, the study by the Duke economist did not specify what types of violations were less likely to happen after a competitor was called out in a press release. While the press release strategy was deemed effective, it was discontinued in 2017 by President Trump.

People who are injured in workplace accidents could be entitled to help paying medical bills. They could also be entitled to a portion of any wages lost while recovering from their injuries. An attorney might be able to help a person learn more about obtaining benefits and how to request them. Legal counsel may also be helpful if an claim is denied.

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