New OSHA Reporting Rules
On Wednesday (May 11, 2016) the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized its new rules for employers to follow when reporting workplace injuries. Through this rule OSHA seeks to make workplace injuries more transparent (to the public and government) hoping to increase safety procedures and practices to reduce injuries. The new rule, however, does not apply to all businesses and organizations in the U.S. Rather, only employers with 250 or more employees or who have between 20 and 249 employees in select hazardous industries will be subject to this new reporting rule.
The final rule has three major components:
- First, covered employers will be required to electronically submit information regarding workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA. And what does OSHA intend to do with this information? Post it on a searchable database on their website, of course, for everyone to view and Plaintiff’s attorneys to research for prospective litigation, no doubt.
- Second, employers will be prohibited from retaliating against employees who report workplace injuries and illnesses. This is trend is rampant nationally at both the state and national level that serves the purpose of providing employees a cause of action to sue their employers.
- Finally, employers will be required to notify employees of their rights to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation; thereby continuing a trend over the past five years of requiring businesses to proactively notify employees in writing of their right to sue them for unlawful conduct.
Originally proposed in late 2013 this new OSHA reporting rule is set to take effect in January 2017. Covered employers should familiarize themselves with the procedures and prepare now for its implementation.
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