Effective August 10, 2016 the rules regarding employer reporting of accidents to OSHA will change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an estimated three million work-related injuries and illnesses are reported by private industry employers in the United States each year. Disturbingly, OSHA reports that more than 50 percent of workplace injuries and illnesses are never reported. The new regulations are intended to modernize the collection of injury data to improve workplace safety and reduce the number of illnesses and injuries suffered on the job.
For workers in Illinois, tighter reporting regulations couldn’t come at a better time. Chicago and other densely populated areas of the state are filled with highly hazardous industries that are prime breeding grounds for workplace accidents.
Under the new rule, employees with more than 250 workers will be required to electronically submit their OSHA 300 logs to the agency each quarter. Additionally, employers who have 20 or more workers at anytime during the year will be required to submit OSHA 300A information annually. In an effort to increase workplace hazard awareness, OSHA will post the information on their website, making it available for public review.
While the new rule is intended to encourage employers to provide safer work environments for their employees, concern that injuries and illnesses will not be accurately reported have surfaced. To ensure the accuracy of the OSHA logs, the rule supports employees’ rights to report incidents without fear of retaliation. Certain safety initiatives that discourage injury reporting will not be tolerated, and employers will be required to provide a reasonable reporting procedure for injured workers.
In similar news, OSHA is also increasing its focus on the safety of tower workers. Recently, they sent letters to 100 cell phone tower employers mentioning their concern of the safety of its employees. You can read more about that story here.