The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued a new rule requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data. This information was previously required to be recorded on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. OSHA will be able to use analysis of the data to aid its enforcement and assistance resources more efficiently. Some of this data will be made public by posting it on the OSHA website. They believe that public disclosure will motivate employers to towards the improvement of workplace safety while providing valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers, as well as the general public.
“Our new rule will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent work injuries to show investors, job seekers, customers and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”
Protection Against Retaliation
Under a section of the rule, employers are prohibited from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. Employers are also required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries or illnesses without worrying about retaliation. The rule also clarifies the implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting injuries and illness must be clear and not discouraging to employees reporting an illness or injury and also incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. These provisions were scheduled to take effect on August 10th 2016 but were delayed by OSHA until November 1, in order to obtain community outreach.
What Employers Are Affected and When?
The requirements for reporting will be phased in over a two-year period:
“Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain must submit information from their 2016 Form 330A by July 1, 2017, and their Form 300A BY July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this final rule within 6 months after publication of this final rule.”
The Effects of the Rule on Workers Compensation and Workplace Injury Cases
One of the key pieces of information required in settling a worker’s compensation case or successfully litigating a workplace injury case against a third party is establishing a definite time and place where the accident happened and what type of injury occurred as a result. Insurance companies will frequently claim that the injury did not occur at the time and place stated or the injury was not a result of that particular incident but occurred later. Corroborating witnesses may no longer be available. With electronic reporting required, the information will be available and remain available to support the claim. Employees will not feel intimidated when filing a report. This will make establishing many claims easier for the attorney representing the injured claimant.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm with worker’s compensation as a special area of practice. If you were injured or became ill due to negligence at the workplace, call 727-451-6900 to schedule a free consultation with a workplace injury attorney. There is no out of pocket cost to you and everything will remain confidential.