Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its final changes to rules governing the reporting of workplace injuries. OSHA periodically changes or updates its regulations in furtherance of its mandate to “assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards.” The latest changes deal with how information on workplace injuries is made available both to OSHA and the public. The new OSHA online injury regulations are aiming for more transparency in the way injuries are reported.
What does the new rule require?
The new rule requires certain employers to electronically submit workplace injury data that they are already required to keep on forms within their business. OSHA will use the electronically-reported information to more efficiently analyze data, and will also post some information on the OSHA website. The new OSHA online injury regulations also aim for less retaliation from employers for workers reporting injuries, by requiring employers to inform employees of their right to report. It also clarifies that the employer’s procedure for reporting such injuries should be reasonable and may not dissuade employees from reporting.
Why has OSHA made this change?
According to OSHA, “making injury information publicly available will ‘nudge’ employers to focus on safety.” A focus on safety means less injured workers and fewer costs to businesses. OSHA also believes that it will lead to less employer retaliation.
When does the new rule go into effect?
The new OSHA online injury regulations are slated to become effective August 10, but the new reporting requirement will be phased in over a period of two years, beginning January 1, 2017. OSHA has also delayed any enforcement of the rule until November 1, 2016, planning to provide outreach to those affected.
All employers subject to the injury-reporting requirement should familiarize themselves with the new rule, here. Keeping up-to-date with agency rule changes is essential to ensuring your business stays compliant, and your workers remain safe.
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