OSHA requires annual tally of workplace injuries

After the cooler weather and rains of winter, spring is a welcome arrival for many San Bernadino residents. Rising temperatures, new blooms, and spring break vacation travel plans are some of the seasonal milestones. Even less pleasant reminders of the season -- such as the upcoming Tax Day -- cannot dampen the sense of renewal brought by spring.

California readers may not have realized that spring brings an additional recordkeeping obligation for many of the state's employers. Specifically, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers in California and across the country to tally the number of work-related illnesses and on-the-job injuries that occurred in their workplaces during 2012 by April 30, 2013.

That requirement applies even to states like California, which operates its own occupational safety and health program under an agreement with the federal OSHA. The Department of Industrial Relations administers the state's program, often referred to as Cal/OSHA, and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health enforces it. State officials believe the recordkeeping requirement helps to ensure workplace safety across the state, bringing potentially unsafe conditions to the quick attention of Cal/OSHA investigators.

No worker should be endangered by an unsafe or unhealthful working condition. However, not every employee may feel comfortable exercising those rights, possibly fearing retaliation from their employers. An experienced workers' compensation attorney will know how to discreetly investigate potentially unsafe working conditions, relying on evidence such as the annual reports. For an employee who has already been injured at work, an attorney can hold employers accountable.

Source: riskandinsurance.com, "Deadline to post injury/illness tallies approaching quickly," March 4, 2013

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