South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA” or the “Administration”) finalized its new recordkeeping and reporting rule which obligates certain employers to submit data concerning workplace injuries and illnesses electronically. The new regulation also strengthens OSHA’s prohibition of employers retaliating against workers for reporting such incidents.
Electronic Recordkeeping and Submission
The information submitted by employers pursuant to OSHA must be submitted electronically. The final rule states that OSHA will provide a secure website for the electronic submission. The reporting requirements will phase in over two years:
More Robust Anti-Retaliation Protections
The anti-retaliation protections in the new rule apply to all employers regardless of the number of employees and are aimed at preventing employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. Employers are already prohibited from retaliating against employees who report injuries or illnesses pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but the new rule is designed to encourage the reporting of all workplace injuries and illnesses. Notably, before the new regulation OSHA could only take action against an employer if an employee filed a complaint for discrimination or retaliation with the Administration. Under the new rule, OSHA may now be able to cite an employer for taking adverse action against an employee for reporting an injury or illness even if the employee did not file a complaint.
In light of the new anti-retaliation protections and the additional enforcement tools at OSHA’s disposal, employers will want to review their workplace injury policies to ensure their employees understand they will not be retaliated against for reporting a work-related injury or illness in light of the new regulation. It is important to note that while the reporting requirements of the new rule are being phased in over the next two years, the anti-retaliation protections of the regulation become effective August 10, 2016.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Press Release regarding the finalized rule can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html, and the final rule can be accessed here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-10443.pdf
The content of this article is for informational purposes only, and does not contain, nor should be construed as containing, legal advice.
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