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New OSHA rule puts worker injury data online

Every day, hard-working New Yorkers carry out the important tasks that help keep the Big Apple moving and growing. And whether you work on a construction site, in a restaurant, behind the wheel of a delivery truck or in any other potentially hazardous environment, you know how important it is for your employer to follow all applicable safety regulations.

An employer whose negligence is responsible for a serious accident in which a worker is injured may want to keep the incident away from public scrutiny. As such, they might deliberately fail to report the accident to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They may even try to discourage or intimidate an employee from making a report. The intent of such acts is to avoid an investigation and possible penalties.

This can leave a worker in a very vulnerable position. He or she may want to report an accident but does not do so out of fear of employer reprisal. But a new rule issued by OSHA may help solve this problem.

This new rule will require businesses to electronically submit information regarding workplace illnesses and injuries to OSHA. In turn, OSHA will post this data on its website, where it can be viewed by the public.

The rule extends to companies that employ 250 or more workers. In addition, companies that have at least 20 employees and do business in certain high-risk fields must also submit reports electronically.

But perhaps best of all, the new rule allows employees to report their issues directly to OSHA. This will hopefully help allay a worker's fear of being retaliated against. It should also make clear that employers must have procedures and policies that allow employees to feel free to report illnesses or injuries.

But while this new OSHA rule appears to be a step forward in helping to create safer work environments, accidents will never be fully eliminated. As such, if you have been hurt while doing your job and want to make sure you get the benefits to which you are entitled, you may want to call on a workers' compensation attorney. The attorney can assess the nature of your injuries and work toward getting you the funds you need for your recovery.

Source: Memphis Business Journal, "Feds to publish companies' on-the-job injury data," Michelle Corbet, May 16, 2016

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