For many private employers, the secrecy of proprietary information may be the only edge which allows them to remain competitive in a crowded marketplace.
For each of these employers, the risk of an intrusive OSHA inspection, which can entail photographs, videos, and interviews regarding sensitive internal operations, is the loss of the secrecy which provides this competitive edge.
The greatest protection which can be afforded such proprietary information – immunization from inspection – is simply not available under the Occupational Safety & Health Act (“OSH Act”). OSHA only has a statutory obligation to protect the confidentiality of information learned during an inspection “which contains or which might reveal a trade secret” belonging to the employer. 29 U.S.C. § 664.
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