Response from AK Steel Corp. to BW's Story on Worker Injury Statistics
With regard to "Caution: Stats May Be Slippery," it is Bloomberg BusinessWeek's reporting that may be slippery. You cite an injury from 2005 not recorded with OSHA as evidence of under-reporting. What you failed to report is that our court challenge in that case was a Kentucky Workers' Compensation claim, and it was not an OSHA-recordable injury. State Workers' Compensation programs and OSHA often have different definitions for work-related injuries.
It is preposterous to suggest that we would try to hide an OSHA injury while publicly appealing the workers' compensation claim all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court. The premise that lower insurance costs would drive under-reporting is equally absurd. As a self-insured company, AK Steel annually spends ten times more for injury prevention than for medical claims resulting from workplace injuries.
You failed to note that our company has third-party audits of our injury logs conducted by a former OSHA area director, and OSHA itself has audited our logs and medical records. In the latter case, two incidents (out of 350 records over five years) were moved from "first aid" to "medical treatment" because prescription medications had been administered.
Finally, your bar chart gives AK Steel a 0.3 injury rate—20% higher than our actual rate of 0.25.
Alan H. McCoy
Vice President, Government & Public Relations
AK Steel Corp.
West Chester, OH