Cross-posting from SoCalCOSH.com
On Wednesday, May 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new injury and illness reporting rules that both labor and OSH advocates are welcoming as good next steps that are long over-due.
Until now, most workplace injury records have only been available at the workplace, making it impossible to know which employers have bad or good injury records. Under the new rule, employers in high hazard industries will have to electronically submit a summary of their injuries and illnesses to OSHA each year. What this means is that OSHA, workers, and the public will now have access to this important information.
The intention of these records is, among other things, to identify workplace safety and health hazard trends with the ultimate goal of learning of ways to prevent future injuries, illnesses, and deaths. With the advent of these records being more readily available to workers, advocates, and other stakeholders, more than just a select group of folks can work toward the ultimate goal of preventing hazards at the workplace.
The AFL-CIO and labor unions have also highlighted the importance of the new rules, including protections to ensure that workers can report injuries without fear of retaliation. “For far too long, in an effort to keep reported injury rates low, employers have retaliated against workers for reporting injuries, disciplining them for every injury or creating barriers to reporting,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “Now these violations will be subject to citations and penalties,” he added. It is clear that with these stronger anti-retaliation protections, workers will be more willing to report injuries.
According to OSHA, statewide OSHA offices will have six months to implement compliance with the new rule.
For added information on the record keeping regulations, click here.