Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: Public Access to Injury RecordsJuly 5, 2016
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that, effective August 10, 2016, many employers will be required to submit their injury and illness data to OSHA. In an effort to create more transparency and improve workplace safety, OSHA will make this information available online where the public can access it at any time.
While some businesses oppose the rule saying it could lead to unfair public embarrassment and jeopardize employer and employee privacy, others argue that the rule does not place any additional burden on employers. According to David Michaels, OSHA’s director, companies are already collecting this data. By making it public, it encourages employers to re-examine their safety protocols and make any necessary improvements that reduce injuries in the workplace.
In order to ensure that the information reported is as accurate as possible, the rule also states that an employee who wants to report an illness or injury may not be retaliated against by his or her employer.
OSHA officials say that they applied the teachings of behavioral economics to workplace safety. For example, restaurants work hard to maintain or improve their health and cleanliness records when they know they are being graded by city health officials, and that the grade will be made public. Employers may tend to react in much the same way if they know the public will have access to their illness and injury reports. In addition, according to Michaels, a high injury rating is a sign of poor management, and employers want to maintain a positive reputation.
The rules will apply to 34,000 companies with 250 employees or more that are in certain “high hazard” industries including construction, manufacturing, hospitals and nursing homes, and freight trucking. Companies with fewer than 250 employees are only required to report the total number of injuries and illnesses and the total number of hours worked during the previous year.
Prospective employees will be able to use this information to compare companies’ safety records and determine where their risk of injury is lowest. From the employer’s perspective, the new rule will help researchers study the cause of workplace illnesses and workplace injuries, identify certain hazards before they become widespread, and develop effective prevention strategies.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have become ill or injured at the workplace, our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton will protect your rights and secure the financial compensation you deserve. If the proper safety protocols were not in place, we will hold the responsible parties liable for your injuries. To schedule a complementary case review, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.