Legislation Injury prevention

‘Hide No Harm Act’ would criminalize corporate concealment of hazards

Washington – Three Democratic senators are seeking to criminalize the concealment of corporate actions or products that could pose a threat of death or serious injury to workers and consumers.

Introduced July 16 by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Hide No Harm Act would punish corporate officers with up to five years in prison and fines if they knowingly conceal that an action or product could cause harm. The bill also would shield corporate officers from criminal liability in circumstances in which they inform federal agencies about the danger.

The bill is a response to recent allegations of a motor vehicle company concealing a defect that led to deaths and injuries. Other companies also have hid defects, according to a press release from the senators, including a body armor company knowingly selling deficient ballistic vests to law enforcement and the military.

At press time, the bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.