Effective August 10, 2016, employers in the United States are required to have a “reasonable procedure” for workers to report workplace injuries and illnesses in both a prompt and accurate manner according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule.
Employers must electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA, enabling OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently by improving the agency’s ability to identify, target, and remove safety and health hazards. OSHA will then post the date on their website.
Additionally, in order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury and illness data collected by employers and reported to OSHA, the final rule includes the following:
- Requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without any form of retaliation from employers
- Clarifies the present requirements that an employer’s procedure for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting
- Incorporates the present statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses
You may be asking yourself, isn’t it already against the law to retaliate against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness? While Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act already forbids any individual from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who reports an injury, illness, or fatality, OSHA may not act under that specific section unless an employee files a complaint with the agency within 30 days of the retaliation. However, according the final rule, OSHA will be able to cite an employer for retaliation without the employee having to file a complaint. This gives the agency the power to protect workers who have been subject to retaliation.
However, there are instances where an employer may subject the employee to alcohol or drug testing upon reporting the injury or illness. Under the new rule, even though it doesn’t prohibit drug testing of employees, it only forbids employers from using drug testing or the threat of drug testing as a form of retaliation against employees who report injuries or illnesses.
If you have suffered an injury or illness at work and your employer is not cooperating in the reporting procedures, contact Brooks Law and schedule a consultation today.