Why Reporting Injuries Creates a Safer Work Environment
It was reported on November 30 that OSHA’s attempts to mandate employers to report on work fatalities and certain serious injuries lack the guidance needed on how to pinpoint and prevent underreporting. This was according to the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General in a semiannual report to Congress. The November 2018 report included many of the same recommendations that were included in another report by the OIG on the Department of Labor’s most pressing challenges for performance. The semiannual report stated that OSHA needs to work harder to target the worst and most common violators and provide better protection for vulnerable worker populations. For such targeting to be effective, OSHA should address serious issues that relate to injury underreporting by companies. OIG also voiced concern about the inability of the agency to measure the effects of its policies and programs, as well as the 28 OSHA-approved State Plans. It noted that some employers are failing to correct workplace hazards that were cited. In 2015, OSHA altered its regulations to require companies and employers to report worker deaths and certain injuries in certain periods of time. Since December 2015, OSHA has issued in excess of 400 citations every six months for failure to report or late reporting. It has been determined that OSHA lacks the controls to be sure that it had all of the information needed on the number of work-related deaths and severe injuries. In the course of the review, it was found that up to 50% of severe injuries were not reported. There is little doubt that better reporting of worker injuries will support a safer work environment for all Americans. Still, there can be difficulties in obtaining the benefits you deserve in case of a workplace injury.