It can be easy to forget when we all go to our jobs day in and day out that there is a complex web of laws and regulations that are at work regarding our employment rights. If you are fortunate, you've never had to question whether your employer has paid you what you deserve for hours worked, for example.
You are also fortunate if you have never been injured on the job nor worried about your safety. Many workers across the country are not so fortunate. Employers are obligated to provide a reasonable level of safety for their workers. When an accident does happen or an employee becomes ill, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration should get involved. And now OSHA is updating how it gets involved regarding workplace safety.
Earlier in May, OSHA released a final rule that revises reporting regulations and procedures of workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers in high-hazard industries with at least 20 workers must submit accident and illness data to OSHA annually. Other employers with at least 250 workers must do the same.
A notable aspect about the change in regulations is that the reports are not just for OSHA to review. The safety reports for the businesses will be posted online for the public to see. Anyone can look into the safety reports of a business to get an idea of the type of environment an employer provides for its workers.
Employers are also required to create reporting policies and procedures for their workers that actually promote reporting when appropriate. Some workers worry about reporting a safety incident or concern out of fear that an employer will identify them and retaliate. OSHA wants to see that reporting is made easy and comfortable for workers.
Workers have legal rights against retaliation. They have rights to a reasonably safe work environment. Someone who feels that either or perhaps both of those rights have been violated can discuss their situation with a lawyer experienced in employment law.