By Ben Geman - 05/07/10 03:04 PM EDT
One amendment, led by Byrd, requires public companies to provide the Securities and Exchange Commission information about health and safety conditions at risky work sites, including coal mines and oil rigs, according to Byrd’s office.
If companies do not comply, the measure allows the SEC and shareholders to seek immediate disclosure and civil penalties.
The required disclosure covers areas such as pending health and safety litigation, “significant health or safety conditions” at risky workplaces, and trends in health and safety violations that could affect costs and revenues.
Byrd said failure to disclose information about risks “could have a significant financial impact on investors, especially if there is a halt in operations because a company failed in its obligation to protect its workers.”
The other amendment, led by Rockefeller, applies only to mining companies. It requires publicly-traded companies to disclose to the SEC the total number of health and safety violations, “failure to abate” orders, the dollar value of proposed fines levied by mine safety regulators, and other information.
Both lawmakers are supporting both amendments. “Together, the amendments we are offering would provide greater transparency so that companies can no longer put profit over worker safety,” Rockefeller said in a statement.