Six States Oppose OSHA’s Decision to Reverse Workplace Injury Reporting RuleApril 3, 2019
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reversed a ruling that was put into place by the Obama Administration in 2016. The ruling states that businesses with 250 or more employees had to submit annual reports that included information about every employee injury or illness that was work-related.
OSHA eliminated the requirement due to a concern about the possibility of sensitive employee information being disclosed. Some states have opposed the ruling, saying that the employee information included in the annual reports is necessary to prevent future workplace injuries.
According to an OSHA representative, because they are no longer collecting sensitive information about employee injuries and illnesses, they avoid the possibility of this information being publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
However, it is important to understand that even though OSHA has lifted the reporting requirement for the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) and the Injury and Illness Incident Report (Form 301), companies with a minimum of 250 employees are still required to maintain these reports and make them available should an OSHA inspector request them.
States that Opposed the Rule
The six states that opposed the decision to reverse the reporting rule include New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York. They argue that the reversal is illegal and irrational, and that there are no privacy issues, because the OSHA forms do not contain personally identifiable information.
In addition, the attorneys general from each state argue that privacy concerns were addressed by OSHA when the rule was originally devised. For example, they did not collect employee names or the names of their physicians.
The Massachusetts Attorney General released a statement, saying that the rollback will only make work environments less safe, resulting in more workplace injuries and illnesses. All six states have criticized OSHA for their decision to reverse the rule, as they believe it is an essential tool that helps track workplace hazards and prevent injuries.
The information provided in the annual reports helps safety officials, policymakers, program developers, and researchers gain a better understanding of what causes workplace injuries and illnesses, and develop effective training, outreach, and enforcement programs that improve safety in work environments.
The states’ attorneys general argued that OSHA did not provide any evidence that justified its view about privacy issues related to the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. According to a representative of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, potentially hazardous work environments cannot be fixed if there is a lack of understanding as to what is causing the injuries or illnesses.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Injured Workers
If you have suffered a workplace injury, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. All employees are entitled to work in an environment that is free of health and safety hazards. We will walk you through every step of the claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits that you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. We serve clients in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.