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Trump Administration Slashes Safety Rules During Shutdown

February 10, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—Just as the partial government shutdown was ending Jan. 25, the Trump administration gutted an Obama-era rule that required most employers to submit detailed annual reports of all workplace injuries to the Department of Labor. The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule, established in 2016, was intended to get more complete and accurate data on how many workers are injured on the job and how they were hurt, instead of relying on surveys and reports of hospitalizations. The Trump administration modified the rule in 2017 so employers would only have to provide summaries, and then the Office of Management and Budget, where two-thirds of employees were furloughed, rushed the new rule through the three-month review process in six weeks. “The process was totally opaque, not transparent, and clearly rushed,” AFL-CIO safety and health director Peg Seminario told Vox. “The only reason this was rushed through was because the Trump administration wanted to relieve employers of having to report their injury data.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claimed that collecting detailed reports of injuries would violate workers’ privacy. Three public-health groups, including Public Citizen, filed a lawsuit later that day to block the revised rule. Read more

February 10, 2019

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