In an effort to prevent workplace accidents and injuries, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), will be implementing a new rule in August to raise awareness of dangerous workplace conditions. According to Plastics Today, the rule will apply to all employers with over 250 employees. Companies with 20 to 249 employees will also be required to report injury data. While employers were always required to keep records pertaining to injuries in the workplace, this data was formerly requested only when workplaces were under investigation. The new law will make it easier for employees to research companies’ rates of injury on the job and seek employment at workplaces where injury rates are lower. The hope is that the reporting system will incentivize employers to maintain safer workplaces in an effort to compete for the best workers.
Despite this, many manufacturers are critical of the law, claiming that it places an unfair burden on employers, reduces privacy, and shames businesses. However, for personal injury lawyers who work with worker’s compensation claims, the increased access to data could prove helpful to a claim. Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. are personal injury attorneys in New York who assist victims of workplace injuries. If you’ve been hurt, the firm may be able to help you with a claim.
According to Manufacturing.net, the OHSA will require that injury reports be sent to the agency electronically, and also require that these reports be made public. Some in the industry worry that companies with poor records will become targets for lawsuits. Of course, the best way for companies to protect their reputations is to promote safe workplaces where injuries are not as likely to occur.
The industries which will be most affected include manufacturing, utilities, construction, transportation, and waste treatment and disposal. These industries are known to report accidents every year. With large equipment, hazardous chemicals or substances, and the sometimes dangerous heights workers are required to face, these industries are by their vary nature sometimes risky for workers. However, in each of these industries, employees can take important measures to keep their workers safe. By offering employees proper safety equipment and training, many accidents can be prevented.
The OHSA will likely target employers with the greatest number of injuries for more inspections. According to the OHSA, higher rates of injury are often a “sign of poor management.”
Businesses worry that initial reports may not be accurate, but that these reports will be the ones cited by news agencies or attorneys. The reality is that the reporting requirements won’t lead to greater workloads on the part of companies. The law merely changes how reports are filed and how they are reported to the public.
If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident, the new law may offer employees an advantage when seeking compensation for their injuries. Personal injury lawyers may be able to better see a pattern of hazardous conditions. Many workplace injuries are handled through worker’s compensation, and many of these claims can be settled without a lawyer. Sometimes individuals who are either not protected under worker’s compensation insurance or those facing pushback from employers seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. In New York City, Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein, L.L.P. fight for the rights of injured workers.