Is OSHA’s New Reporting Rule a Cause for Employer Concern?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently finalized their new regulations on employee injury reporting and recordkeeping.  The new law states that certain industries must report employee injuries electronically so their records can be publicly displayed. This controversial topic has sparked some negative feedback from many employers who claim the new law is shaming their company. However, OSHA seeks to improve Claims Management and ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace. With that said, let us take a closer look at the overview of OSHA’s new reporting rule.

This brief excerpt, published on their website on May 12, 2016, summarizes the regulations:

OSHA is issuing a final rule to revise its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. The final rule requires employers in certain industries to electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness data that employers are already required to keep under existing OSHA regulations. The frequency and content of this establishment – specific submissions are set out in the final rule and are dependent on the size and industry of the employer. OSHA intends to post the data from these submissions on a publicly accessible Web site. (The entire page can be found here.)

In addition, OSHA requires employers to notify their employees about their reporting rights. They are not permitted to discourage an employee from reporting the injury, even if the injury is not viewed as serious. Further, employers cannot retaliate against the employee for reporting a work injury- both directly and indirectly.

While these regulations were put in place for ensuring compliance, safety, and accountability, some employers are vocalizing their concerns. For instance, opponents say that the public posting of work injury data constitutes a “public shaming” and that data may be misunderstood or exploited by competitors and other parties, says Workers Compensation Insider. Lastly, the previous regulations allowed for records to be revised. Now, this feature may not exist, which could tarnish the company’s reputation.

While many employers view this as a negative connotation for their safety practices, OSHA representatives disagree.

“Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers, and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

At Company Nurse, we provide telephonic work injury triage using highly skilled Registered Nurses and Injury Care Coordinators. We assist employees with first aid advice, triage them to the most appropriate medical care, and disseminate the highly valuable data we collect to stakeholders within minutes of completing the call. With this, we strive to assist in timely injury reporting, reducing claim activity, improving outcomes, and increasing employee satisfaction. For more information on how a 24-hour injury hotline program can benefit your business and employee injury protocol, contact us today at (855) 488-5337.

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