New U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements have been put in place to increase the amount of workplace injury reporting.
The new regulations came from one of OSHA’s top attorneys and the former Assistant Secretary of Labor. The requirements will significantly increase the amount of injury and illness data that employers are required to collect.
According to EHS Today, the new law makes it mandatory for employers to electronically submit any and all workplace injury and illness information to the government. OSHA plans to post all this data on its public website, OSHA.gov.
OSHA reports that even though employers were faced with fines up to $7,000 for failure to report injuries, 50% of severe injuries in the U.S. are going unreported.
“Every time we do an outreach, whether giving speeches to various trade groups of employee associations, we bring up the fact that severe illnesses and injuries have to be reported within 24 hours,” said Eugene Stewart, director for OSHA in Mississippi. “There is information on our website about the new reporting requirements. There are consultants out there relaying that information. There are quite a few avenues out there for employers to get this information.”
The Mississippi Business Journal reports that before the new rule, employers were not forced to report any serious hospitalizations or amputations for employees.
“Now because that information is required to be reported,” Stewart said, “we can respond and almost immediately make sure employers are taking steps to prevent those injuries and illnesses to employees.”
Workplace injuries are a serious problem in America: 35% of on-the-job injuries are caused by machine accidents every year. And in 2014, 4,821 workers died on-the-job — 14% due to machinery accidents.
The three elements of the new regulations are:
- Employers must inform all employees of their right to report any work-related injuries and illness free from retaliation. To meet this requirement, OSHA advises that employers post the “Job Safety and Health — It’s the Law” poster.
- Employers’ processes for reporting any injuries and illnesses must be within reason and must not deter or discourage any employee from reporting their injuries or illnesses.
- Employers may not retaliate or punish any employee who reported a work-related injury or illness.