OSHA rule requires annual workplace safety data from agencies

A workers’ compensation attorney might agree that federal workplace safety laws are often prospective in focus. Regulations and safety precautions are industry specific and intended to minimize the occurrence of on-the-job injuries.

One way that officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can monitor workplace safety -- and determine whether additional safety regulations might be needed -- is from injury data. In that regard, a new final rule might help streamline the collection and analysis of safety data from federal agencies across the country.

Specifically, the final rule will require all federal agencies to send injury and illness reports to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on an annual basis. Notably, the final rule also provides guidance for injuries that happen to contract employees and volunteers in federal workplaces.

According to an official, the data may not have been this comprehensively gathered before. The official hopes the new process will reduce occupational hazards and make workplaces safer for the over two million employees who work in federal agencies across the country.

The data may also prove useful as OSHA develops programs under the auspices of the Obama administration’s workplace safety initiative, called Protecting Our Workers and Ensuring Reemployment. The four-year program, created in 2011, includes performance targets.

Inspections from federal and state officials help to remind employers of that obligation, and attorneys can help to hold employers accountable when they breach required safety protocol or fail to safeguard against reasonably foreseeable hazards. If an employee is unsure or disputes an employer’s evaluation of a workplace injury, a workers’ compensation attorney might provide additional advice.

Source: claimsjournal.com, “OSHA Changes Recordkeeping Rule for Federal Agencies to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries,” Aug. 12, 2013

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