OSHA considering changes to help reduce workplace accidents

Posted on in Workplace Accidents

When a Santa Clara County resident suffers an injury at work, several immediate concerns arise. First, seeking medical attention for the work injury is paramount, regardless of the severity. Next, the timetable for recovering from the injury should be established. But, not to be forgotten, is determining how a worker's employment situation will be addressed in the aftermath of the workplace accident.

How an employer reacts to an employee's onsite work injury is important. While some employers may be more understanding of a workplace injury - like, say, construction accidents, where workers are dealing with heavy equipment and accidents are, unfortunately, common - other employers may not be so understanding of an injured employee's situation. Some employers may not want to be known for having a worksite where a dangerous accident occurred, and they will attempt to keep things quiet. But, according to a recent article, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have different thoughts on the matter.

According to the article, OSHA is contemplating a major change in employer practices, whereby an employer must electronically file reports of workplace accidents and illnesses. The big change? These reports would be open to the public.

However, as the article also notes, any change of this magnitude is likely to have both proponents and detractors. Electronic filing has made many areas of government compliance more efficient, but the public nature of these reports is not likely to go over all that well with business leaders and employers. It appears that OSHA's intent in making the reports public is to pressure employers into a greater level of compliance with safety regulations. That is a goal that many Santa Clara County workers would most likely be happy to support.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "AP source: OSHA wants safety reports made public," Sam Hananel, Nov. 6, 2013

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