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    :: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 ::

    Cooking The Books: Underreporting Worker Injuries at the San Francisco Bay Bridge: Part I - Confined Space
    Welders told Cal/OSHA that during the first six months of the incentive plan, from November 2003 to June 2004, they received their monthly $200-$600 incentive awards in the form of crisp, new $100 bills tucked neatly inside their pay envelopes.

    But any “OSHA recordable injury” resulted in everyone up the chain losing their cash incentive, and perhaps not just for the current bonus period but for future award periods as well. Thus the cash incentive plan was self-policing – no worker wanted to lose their own cash bonus, or make their foreman, general foreman, superintendents and project managers lose their bonus money.

    Pile excavation crew foreman Arne Paulson told Cal/OSHA:
    It was known by everyone not to report any injuries because that would mean no BBQ, no tool prizes, no tool box prizes. Everyone would know who ‘lost’ the prizes for the crew, so everyone was terrified to report anything.

    Welder David Dixon reported to Cal/OSHA that supervisors “downplayed reporting of accidents. If you reported an injury, ‘you are hurting the team’ or ‘you are screwing the crew.’”
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