OSHA finalized a rule in May 2016 that would make some workplace injury and illness data available to the public. While most companies are already required to keep records of injuries and illnesses, that information was rarely made available to OSHA or the public in general. The Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule would require employers in industries considered to be highly hazardous to send OSHA relevant data on a monthly basis.
It would then be put up on OSHA’s website. Ideally, this would compel employers to provide better working conditions and make workplace safety a priority. This is because no company would want to be seen as one that has poor management or little concern for its employees.
OSHA also hopes that the data will make it easier to monitor compliance and understand better which companies should be targeted for enforcement measures. However, the new rule has met some backlash from some business groups. They believe that worker safety is already a top priority and that OSHA is overstepping its boundaries with this new rule. Opponents also claim that this data could be used by other businesses to get a leg up on their competition.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has noted that in excess of 3 million workers are injured on the job or develop a work-related illness each year. Without worker’s compensation insurance, many would have to find another way to cover the resulting medical expenses. Fortunately most companies are required to provide such coverage, and many injured or ill employees find the assistance of an attorney to be helpful when preparing and submitting their claims.