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OSHA prohibits retaliation for reporting workplace injury

Employers in North Carolina should take note of the stronger anti-retaliation rules included in new regulations from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Hoping to encourage employees to report all work-related injuries and maladies, regulators have included three provisions that bar employers from retaliating against employees when they make a report or testify about safety problems.

The first provision addresses the posting of the information. Employers must make their workers aware of their right to report illnesses and injuries that result from their jobs. An OSHA poster from April 2015 or later will contain the language that meets this requirement. The second provision expands upon a previously existing rule. The extra wording emphasizes that reporting procedures put in place by employers must be reasonable.

With the third new provision, regulators added an extra tool for preventing retaliation against employees that file a safety complaint. The additional language that addresses retaliation against an employee now allows an OSHA inspector to specifically cite an employer for retaliatory acts.

The new provisions might enable a person to express concerns about unsafe working conditions. Accidents and illnesses attributed to a workplace need to be formally reported to an employer in order for a worker to collect workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to pay for an injured worker's medical care.

Sometimes a person hurt at work encounters difficulty in obtaining these benefits. When that happens, an attorney might assert the person's right to these benefits. An attorney could communicate with the insurance company on behalf of the injured worker and make a claim for compensation. If an insurance company denies a claim, then an attorney might initiate an appeal or even take the issue to court.

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