Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a rule that workers, employers, and the public should be informed about workplace hazards with new federal requirements that will take effect on August 10, 2016. Every year, three million workers will suffer a workplace injury or illness and OSHA wants to help. As of now, they require many employers to keep a record of injuries and illnesses to help employers and their employees identify hazards as well as fix problem so that additional injuries can be prevented.
It is unfortunate to mention that little or no information about worker injuries is made public by employers or available to OSHA. If an employer is involved in a high-hazard industry, such as construction, they must send OSHA injury and illness data that they are already required to collect. OSHA believes that, because of this data collection, employers will be encouraged to increase efforts to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Dr. David Michaels, has stated, “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities.” They will also be able to use this information to make workplaces safer.
What Does This Mean for Employees?
Because of these provisions, employees will be able to identify the workplaces where they are least likely to obtain an injury when seeking employment. It will also ensure that employers will be taking a close look at their safety programs, which can only benefit everybody involved. OSHA’s ruling has also established that employees should be free from retaliation at all costs. An employer should always have a reasonable procedure to report work-related injuries that doesn’t turn employees away from reporting in the first place.
OSHA has made it that much easier to enable researchers to better study injury causation as well as identify workplace safety hazards before they become a widespread problem. All establishments covered with over 250 employees must submit to OSHA injury and illness information on select forms.
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Legal Liability of Employers When Employees Are Injured
Employers have a duty to keep their employees safe under all circumstances. This means that employers are entitled to eliminate all hazards causing death or serious physical harm. However, employers may not always have legal liability for an accident. There are some circumstances that send that idea packing, such as a substance abuse problem that contributed to the accident by fault of the employee. No matter what, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the worker receives the medical treatment necessary that is associated with the injury. Under OSHA, employees have a right to immediate medical attention as well as compensation if it applies to the situation. This is something they must always remember.
Have you been injured in the workplace? If so, you have rights. Workplace injuries can range anywhere from minor to extremely severe and debilitating. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi today to receive the legal representation you deserve!