Some North Carolina companies will soon be subject to new regulations demanding reports of injuries, fatalities and other safety incident that have occurred within their workplaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is changing the method of reporting in an attempt to raise awareness and push injury rates down, but industry groups have responded with claims that OSHA is overreaching its authority and making inappropriate changes.
Although all employers are already required to maintain thorough records as to workplace hazards and safety issues, some will now have to report this data to OSHA directly so that the agency can publish it on its website. The intention of the agency is to use open disclosure of safety problems as a way for industries to monitor themselves, allowing employees to gravitate towards workplaces with fewer occupational risks and letting regulators know where they should concentrate their efforts.
Construction industry advocates have spoken out against these changes, calling them needlessly onerous and unrelated to the actual business of guaranteeing workplace safety. They related their concerns that the safety data presented an incomplete picture of the work conditions and generally showed disappointment that OSHA was moving away from its current system of reporting.
Most companies are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to provide a level of benefits for employees who are injured on the job or who develop an occupational disease. It is not uncommon for a claim to be disputed or denied in order to avoid a premium hike, so the assistance of an attorney can be advisable if this occurs and an appeals hearing is sought.
Source: US Glass Mag, “OSHA to Create Public Database of Workplace Injuries”, May 12, 2016