As of August 10, many employers involved in industries considered high risk will have to change their ways when it comes to reporting on their workplace safety in order to comply with a new rule issued by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration. According to the federal agency, statistics indicate that in excess of three million workers in the United States suffer workplace injury or even illness yearly. The new OSHA rule focuses on modernizing data collection related to injuries and/or illnesses suffered by workers across the country, including Tennessee.
Employers, specifically those in certain high risk industries, will be required to electronically submit information pertaining to work-related illnesses and injuries. It will then be made available on the website of the agency. So far, this kind of data has not been available. Before, employers were required to keep the data for their own use, but they were not required to provide it to OSHA or make it public. Rather, it was purely to assist industries to improve their own safety.
By making data regarding safety of certain industries available to the public, the hope is that these businesses and industries will become more motivated to ensure a good safety record. Publicizing this data allows for workers to select safer workplaces when they are looking for work. It also acts as a way to benchmark the safety record of a particular industry or business.
The rule also encourages workers to act on their right to report cases of work-related injury or illness, without having to fear possible negative consequences. In this manner greater accuracy of data is ensured. While Tennessee labor law provides workers the right to claim workers’ compensation after suffering a workplace injury or illness, there are cases where workers are too scared to act. Despite the changes brought about by the new OSHA rule, some workers may remain hesitant to file for workers’ compensation benefits after an injury, but consultation with a lawyer experienced in handling workplace injury claims may put their mind at ease.
Source: facilityexecutive.com, “OSHA’s New Work Injury Reporting Rule In Effect August 10“, Accessed on May 25, 2016