In lieu of a denied increase in OSHA violation fines, the regulatory entity is now seeking to change the way accidents on the job are reported and who can have access to the information. An Illinois worker who is a victim of a work injury may feel confusion and distrust surrounding their accident and may have questions regarding the legal process their employers must follow to ensure benefits are provided and reports are made. Accidents on the job could become public information allowing a way for an employee to check that their incident was properly reported.
The goal of the people responsible for federal safety regulations is to minimize workplace injuries by employer action and prevention through public accountability. The organization is requesting that all companies that meet certain requirements submit illness and accidents on the job that result in injury which will then be made public in an online database. This has been done in the mining industry for years, and has provided positive changes that benefit employees.
Some companies argue that the information collected may not reveal the complete circumstance surrounding the workplace injuries and be misleading. They plan on using the new system to direct their efforts in enforcing regulations where they are most needed. The number of businesses in Illinois and around the nation far out number the man power held by OSHA, spreading inspectors thin as they struggle to provide for every workplace. OSHA employees around 2,400 inspection agents meant to serve over 8 million companies.
Currently, the reports that are completed and submitted to the Bureau of Labor statistics keep company information confidential, which could potentially change. Accidents on the job could become public information if OSHA is successful with their plea. The Bureau recorded close to three million illnesses and injuries from accidents on the job and over 4,300 deaths. A victim to one of these injuries or illnesses may choose to pursue legal assistance in guaranteeing their experience was properly reported and they receive rightful compensation benefits.
Source: whig.com, OSHA plans to make workplace safety reports public, Sam Hananel, Nov. 7, 2013
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