In a prior post, we highlighted OSHA’s the success of OSHA’s new injury reporting protocols. Essentially, employers who had employees who were injured in the course of their duties were required to report certain injuries and all hospitalizations within a 24 hour period. While the reporting protocols were envisioned to be easier because it was voluntary and could be done electronically, the reporting of actual injuries fell short of expected projections last year.
This ostensibly led OSHA to increase the penalties for non-compliance. The previous penalty for failing to report workplace injuries was $1000.00 per instance. The new penalty will be $5,000.00, with area OSHA directors having the discretion to increase the penalty to $7,500.00 depending on the severity of the injury and the circumstances behind it.
The rationale is that federal regulators are concerned that employers are intentionally not reporting injuries and ignoring their responsibilities in order to avoid further penalties.
It is important for workers to understand that the increase in potential penalties does not affect a worker’s ability to report workplace injuries or the protections an employee has if they are retaliated against for reporting them. The same applies if an employer challenges such injuries.
Even with these penalties, an employee may feel pressured to return to work before they are physically ready and may not have the confidence to stand up to an employer out of fear of losing their job. This is where an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help.
The preceding is not legal advice.