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OSHA considering new rule for workplace injuries

The state of Ohio provides a system of workers' compensation to cover workplace injuries. If an employee is injured during the course of employment, the employee can file a workers' compensation claim in order to collect money to pay for the injury. The system also protects employers. As employers pay into workers' compensation each month, they are less likely to be financially blindsided by an employee's injury and his or her need for compensation.

Workers' compensation is one of many safeguards in place to protect employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also establishes rules on a national level to ensure workplaces are healthy and safe. OSHA is currently considering a new rule, and some employers are worried about the proposal. OSHA wants employers to submit information regarding workplace accidents, illnesses and injuries onto an electronic database.

This digital information would then be available for a number of purposes. Potential employees could review the results when they are considering where to work. Employees could also discover whether an injury or illness was actually reported to OSHA. Companies could compare their injury and accident stats with each other and OSHA could obviously use the information to decide which employers need visits.

Employers are concerned with the digital information being misconstrued or misinterpreted. They fear employers might be unfairly targeted and equate the database to a form of public shaming. Employers would rather focus on the good things companies and businesses do to improve workplace safety like training programs and frequent inspections.

Obviously, the ultimate goal is to make sure employees are safe. A digital database may not be the final answer, but in the meantime, employees have a safety net of workers' compensation to fall back on in the event of a work-related injury or illness.

Source: Forbes, "Will OSHA's Shame Game Improve Workplace Safety?," Howard Mavity, Jan. 8, 2013

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