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Saying Employers Can’t Be Trusted, OSHA Widens Rule

Volume 2, Issue 16
August 30, 2014
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OSHABecause employers can’t be trusted to do the right thing, OSHA said it is expanding its proposed rule to require electronic injury reporting to include mandatory notices to employees.

You read that right. The agency said in its Aug. 14 announcement that public comments have led it to believe the proposed rule “could motivate employers to under-record injuries and illnesses.”

OSHA said it is concerned that the “proposal could promote an increase in workplace policies and procedures that deter or discourage employees from reporting work related injuries and illnesses. These include adopting unreasonable requirements for reporting injuries and illnesses and retaliating against employees who report injuries and illnesses.”

The agency wants to amend the proposed rule to require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses.

The rule also would more clearly communicate that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer must be reasonable and not unduly burdensome to employees; and strengthen the ban against acting adversely toward employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

As originally proposed last November, the new rules would require employers with locations with 250 or more workers to electronically submit workplace injury and illness information to OSHA on a quarterly basis.

Non-exempt employer’s establishments with 20 or more employees in designated industries would electronically submit the information to OSHA annually.The agency would then publish employer injury and illness logs on the Internet.

Requests by employer groups’ that OSHA withdraw the proposal apparently fell on deaf ears. Comments on the expanded proposal are due by Oct. 14.

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