Dubious data clouds job safety gains
Executives at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. were jubilant. The big packaging company, a self-proclaimed leader in workplace safety, had smashed its own record for lowest injury rates in its industry.
It was another milestone in Smurfit’s “incredible tradition of safety achievement,” said a February 2008 press release.
Yet the month before, Monterey County authorities filed criminal charges against two officials of a local Smurfit plant and a medical provider, accusing them of conspiring over several years to cover up injuries and discourage workers from filing workers compensation claims. The men pleaded not guilty, and the case is pending.