(Mirror Daily, United States) – Starting from the 12th of May, 2016, OSHA announced many revisions regarding its rule about reporting and recordkeeping illnesses and occupational injuries.
The first revision would require employers to inform employees about the correct way to report a work –related injury. Plus, employees will have the right to report illnesses and work-related injuries without having to worry about being discriminated for reporting these injuries.
The second revision would prompt employers to set a ‘reasonable procedure’ for reporting illnesses and injuries accurately and in due time. This reasonable procedure could be just a note stating that a rule is not reasonable if it forces or influences the employee to avoid reporting an illness or injury.
Third, it was promised that the new rule will provide a new enforcement mechanism aiming the employers who use discrimination as a weapon against their employees for reporting an injury. Besides the protection of the Act, these employers will receive citations from OSHA. It means that from now on, OSHA will be able to cite employers for alleged retaliation, without needing a previous report from the employee regarding discrimination.
Fourth, every injury and illness will be recorded in the employer’s report. Therefore, more than 20 employees will have to submit electronically any information about injuries and illnesses related to work. Plus, the obligations of the employer will depend on how many employees there are.
For instance, for establishments with at least 250 employees, information from the OSHA 301 (Injury/Illness Incident Report), OSHA 300A (Injury/Illness Summary) and OSHA 300 (Injury/Illness Log) must be submitted every year starting from 2017.
However, in case an employer has an establishment of more than 20 but fewer than 250 employees, information from the OSHA 300A must be submitted to OSHA electronically.
According to the new rule, employer safety policies regarding drug and alcohol testing, discipline, and safety incentive programs will be called into question. Moreover, the rule will require reasonable reporting procedures without discouraging employees from reporting injuries. According to OSHA, the word ‘reasonable’ will allow employers to adjust their programs to the needs of their workplaces without having to prescribe specific procedures.
By making these changes, OSHA intends to balance the employer-employee relationship and to deal with discrimination and other abuses.