OSHA New Accident Rule is Stirring the Pot

OSHA's New Accident Rule promises to crack down on repeat violators.A new accident rule issued by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which will go into effect on Aug. 10, will change the way that manufacturers and businesses log their injuries and illnesses.

OSHA directives state  that all businesses inform their employees of their respective rights to file any injury or illness, without fear of retaliation. According to OSHA’s new accident rule, it “clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses,” according to OSHA representatives.

While the current OSHA regulations regarding workplace illness and injury reporting require that businesses maintain a log of their respective employees’ illness and injury history, the new accident rules updates these procedures and will mandate that those businesses now electronically submit all logs to OSHA, directly. OSHA intends to post the data from these submissions on a publicly accessible Web site.

OSHA has published the final rule in the Federal Registry and has made it clear that the chief purpose of this of the new process is to improve safety tracking. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said, “Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace. Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities.”

While this new accident rule is sure to garner a variety of opinions, some businesses are in favor of it. Says Scott Harris of Alamo1, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and you don’t want to be the squeaky wheel,” he said. “Now some people are saying that’s not fair. But if you’re having the most injuries and fatalities then why shouldn’t you be getting the most inspections?”

The recent OSHA new accident rule is one of many reforms that OSHA has made to pre-existing safety regulations, in an effort to improve the workplace environment.

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