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OSHA mandates public disclosure of workplace injury accident data

Working people in Montana will have access to important information about the safety records of their employers and potential employers under a new rule promulgated this month by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Under the new rule, companies with 20 or more employees will be required to submit work injury and occupational disease information to OSHA, which will then post data related to individual employers on its website. 

Many employers are already required by OSHA to maintain injury and illness data. The new rule does not impose any additional recordkeeping data on these employers. Until now, however, most of this data was not made public or even provided to OSHA. The new rule changes that. Under the new rule, workers will be able to see how many injuries and illnesses occur at their workplace and check out how their employer's safety record compares to those of other employers.  

The new rule also contains a provision protecting a worker from employer retaliation for reporting an injury to OSHA. An employee does not need to rely on the employer to report an injury to OSHA, and if they report it themselves, they should not have to fear demotion or termination for doing so.

The new reporting requirement is intended to reduce on-the-job injuries by encouraging employers to correct unsafe working conditions. Injuries will still occur, of course, and when they do, injured workers should understand their rights to collect workers' compensation benefits. These benefits include compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.       

Source: Claims Journal, "OSHA’s Final Rule to Improve Injury Reporting/Transparency Takes Effect August 10," May 11, 2016

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