One press release naming a company that has violated workplace health and safety regulations can result in a 73 percent improvement in compliance by other facilities, a Duke researcher found.
The study appeared in the June issue of American Economic Review.
Early 2009 saw the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) send press releases to the local newspaper near a facility, detailing serious health and safety violations found during an inspection.
The study found that after these press releases was sent to the local newspaper, compliance by other nearby facilities improved more as compared to if OSHA had inspected each of those facilities directly.
“OSHA would have to conduct an additional 210 inspections to elicit the same improvement in compliance as sparked by a single press release about severe violations,” said researcher Matthew S. Johnson, assistant professor at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy.
Workplace injuries cost approximately $250 billion each year and there were 3.7 million work-related injuries and illnesses in 2015. Such concerns are further being fueled up due to the coronavirus pandemic as workers’ health continue to suffer while reports indicate that employers are not providing the protective measures workers need.
“We have lots of evidence that these ratings and scores motivate companies to do better,” Johnson added. “But this is one of the first papers to show that these kinds of disclosures have a ripple effect on the behavior of other companies and to provide new insight into what drives companies to comply with regulations.”
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