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Employers Could Soon Be Required to Publicize Workplace Injury Records

Written by Ankin Law Office

Workplace injury records may soon be made public under a new rule proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration last week. The new rule would require large companies – those with more than 250 employees – to file electronic injury and illness reports that would be available to the public, researchers, company employees, other companies, and public officials.

Currently, companies must keep track of workplace injuries and illness, and post summaries of injuries and illnesses in the workplace for employees to see. Some companies are also required to fill out OSHA and Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys on workplace incidents. But under the current system, only brief OSHA survey information with overall company injury rates is publicly available and attributed to specific companies. Furthermore, the information is not necessarily available on a timely basis.

Safety advocates applaud OSHA’s proposed new rule, saying the such measures are necessary since fines imposed on employers for unsafe working conditions are often minimal and insufficient to encourage enhanced safety and because OSHA has limited resources with which to inspect workplace to ensure compliance with regulations. By increasing public attention on workplace safety, employers would have an increased incentive to promote workplace safety.

OSHA Violations and Workers’ Compensation

Injured workers are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. In exchange for workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers are barred from suing their employers in private civil actions, which means that an OSHA violation generally does not impact an employee’s workers’ compensation claim.

Nonetheless, depending on the circumstances of the workplace accident, an injured worker may still have a third-party cause of action against another party. Moreover, OSHA has reminded employers that federal law bars them from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries, and warned employers against offering bonuses or prizes for meeting safety goals if those incentives deter workers from reporting injuries.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you were the victim of workplace retaliation, or you suspect your employer of violating OSHA safety regulations, you should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable about workers’ compensation and employment laws and dedicated to protecting employee rights.

The Chicago worker’s compensation lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to workplace safety and protecting employees who have suffered an on-the-job injury or work-related illness. We are committed to helping injured workers obtain full and fair recovery for their injuries, including workers’ compensation benefits and any personal injury damages in a third party lawsuit, as well as ensuring that they are not the victim of workplace retaliation as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.