In our last post, we highlighted the increasing penalties for failing to report workplace injuries, and how it was a sign that OSHA did not trust that employers would self-report their injuries. Recently OSHA published new and final rules regarding the electronic submission of workers’ injury and illness data.
This information is to supplement such data that was already supposed to be taken when injuries occur within the workplace. The new rule applies to establishments with 250 or more employees in certain high risk industries, including forestry, mining, agriculture and especially, construction.
OSHA indicated to businessinsurance.com that the data will allow it to further analyze compliance with injury reporting rules and productively use its assessment and enforcement powers. Regulators suggest that high injury rates are a sign of a dangerous work environment, so officials can focus on these operations for proper corrections. They suggest that the new reporting requirements will persuade employers to prevent worker injuries and demonstrate to the public their customers that they operate safe businesses.
This could be beneficial to workers because it would help in avoiding costly injuries, as well as disputes over the extent and coverage of benefits.
However, there are some stakeholders who balk at the idea of mandatory reporting because they feel that it is a veiled attempt at shaming businesses who have not complied with OSHA’s reporting regulations but otherwise have safe businesses. They also believe that OSHA is overstepping their boundaries with how they may use such information.
In the meantime, if you have been injured in the workplace and need guidance with your workers’ comp claim, an experienced attorney can advise you.