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New OSHA rules could require public reporting of workplace injuries

Employers may be required to publicly disclose work injury and illness data under new rules proposed by OSHA.
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    December 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Under a proposed rule recently announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, larger employers in the United States could soon be required to publicly disclose their workplace injury and illness reports.

Existing OSHA rules require employers to provide workers with an annual summary of any work-related illnesses or injuries that have occurred at the company, but they are currently only required to post these disclosures in a common area where they can be seen by employees. The recently proposed rule would require the reporting to be done electronically and would allow the data to be viewed by members of the public.

Proponents of the electronic reporting proposal say it could help improve workplace safety by holding employers publicly accountable for addressing workplace safety hazards. Some business groups, on the other hand, have been more critical of the proposed rule. These critics say that raw data can provide an incomplete picture of a company's safety record because it does not account for the circumstances surrounding an illness or injury.

If passed, the electronic reporting rules would apply to about 38,000 U.S. companies that employ more than 250 workers. Employers of that size would be required to submit illness and injury data on a quarterly basis. An additional 440,000 smaller companies with 20 or more workers would be required to submit annual reports if they operate in certain industries with relatively high rates of illness and injury.

Coping with workplace injuries in Oregon

Oregon law requires most employers to carry workers' compensation coverage to cover their employees in the event of on-the-job injuries or illnesses. This is true even for small businesses that employ only a few people.

Just as car insurance has a no-fault component in Oregon, workers' compensation is also based on a no-fault system. This means that Oregon workers who are hurt on the job are typically entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault for causing the injury. In other words, people seeking compensation for a workplace injury in Oregon are not required to establish that the injury was caused by negligence on the part of the employer. In fact, injured workers can typically even receive benefits if they got hurt on the job because of their own error or lapse in judgment.

If you or a family member has been hurt on the job or developed a work-related illness in Oregon, you may be entitled to monetary benefits for the injuries, medical expenses and lost income caused by the accident. However, because the Oregon workers' compensation system is highly complex, it may be helpful to speak with a lawyer about your situation if you have been hurt on the job. An experienced workers' compensation lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you pursue all of the benefits to which you are entitled.

Article provided by Hansen Malagon
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