OSHA injury, illness reporting rule beefs up employee protections

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Thursday, May 12, 2016

Workplace injury and illness annual reporting is going electronic, and the new final rule released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration beefs up employee protections under the rule.

Currently, certain employers are required to log workplace injury and illnesses on forms and submit them to OSHA. The agency’s final rule released on Wednesday, May 11, requires electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses to the agency.

“OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public,” information on the agency website states.

Of particular interest to those involved in the trucking industry, motor carriers with as few as 20 employees will be required to comply with the new final rule. In addition to reporting workplace injuries and illnesses, employers will also be required to educate employees on their rights to report injuries and illnesses and reporting procedures.

The rule also clarifies the existing requirements on the employers.

Specifically on employee rights, the final rule specifies that employers must inform each employee that employees have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses; and that employers are “prohibited from discharging or in any manner discriminating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.”

The rule clearly states that employers must not discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness.

As is common with most new rules implemented by any agency, the final rule has a number of compliance deadlines. The first is Aug. 10 and relates to the education of employees on their rights and protections

The first phase of the actual reporting requirement will apply to businesses with 250 or more employees and businesses with 20-249 employees in certain “high risk” industries – which trucking is designated as. The deadline to begin electronic reporting is July 1, 2017.

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