Starting soon, new workplace reporting requirements, pursuant to Federal Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) regulations, will take effect on August 10, 2016 and January 1, 2017. OSHA recently issued a final rule to modernize injury data collection responsibilities for employers that will better inform workers, employers, the public and OSHA about workplace hazards. The goal of the new rule is to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses, by tracking statistics and applying the standards of behavioral economics.
OSHA is an agency established to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Under previous estimates, only about 50 percent of severe injuries in the U.S. were being reported within the required time period, and many employers did not know that they were required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours. In fact, changes that took place in January of 2015 did not include some small businesses within the reporting requirements.
Under the new law, work-related severe illnesses and injuries have to be reported within 24 hours, and only certain industries are exempt from the reporting requirements. Specifically, any employer with ten or fewer employees do not need to keep OSHA records, but all fatalities, amputations, and hospitalizations must still be reported. With regard to industry, unless your employer is classified as follows – drug store, liquor store, new and used car dealer, hardware store, retail bakery, insurance agent, real estate agent, barbershop and beauty shop, and general service – the employer must adhere to all OSHA regulations. The January 1, 2017 regulations will also require certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data, so that the information can be more easily tracked and used.
Furthermore, the new requirements will involve public disclosure, and OSHA specifically requires employers to inform workers that they have a legal right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without being penalized. This will improve employer accountability and means that if you are injured on the job, your OSHA-regulated employer is not allowed to punish you for documenting the work-related hazard.
The goal of the new employer responsibilities is to allow OSHA to be aware of what problems are in each industry, so that proper measures can be undertaken to protect individuals in the workplace. With additional data, OSHA will be able to redistribute resources to save lives and prevent future injury and illness by targeting environments where workers are at the greatest risk.
Workers who become injured or disabled as a result of a work-related injury are often unaware of their rights. The new OSHA requirements seek to improve information for workers. Nonetheless, many employers still violate OSHA regulations. If you or someone you know becomes injured or disabled as a result of work, or if an employer seeks to retaliate against you for reporting an injury, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Can Help if You Are Injured at Work
If you or someone you love receives an on-the-job injury or illness, you may be entitled to compensation or other related benefits. The experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.