Report: Most Companies Don’t Comply With Work Accident Reporting Rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees worker safety and establishes regulations employers must follow in order to protect workers from being hurt or killed on the job.

As our Providence workers’ compensation lawyer blog recently explained, OSHA recently changed its reporting requirements to ensure the agency is provided with more information in more situations when a worker is hurt or killed. In addition to requiring reporting, OSHA also established rules mandating employers to retain information on work accidents for a certain period of time. 

There are many reasons why it is important for OSHA to know what has happened after an injury or death-on-the-job. One big benefit of alerting OSHA to a problem is the agency can then conduct an investigation to determine if an employer has followed the rules. OSHA has too few investigators and cannot inspect all workplaces, so the report of injury or fatalities is often what triggers an investigation.  Requiring employers to live up to reporting obligations and keep adequate records is also essential so employers can monitor their own weaknesses and make changes if there are perilous work conditions.

Unfortunately, recent studies have demonstrated the majority of companies are not actually following even the current rules that OSHA has set, which are more lax than the rules that will soon go into effect.

Employers are Not Following OSHA Rules for Tracking and Reporting Work Accidents

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries conducted an in-depth study to determine if employers were in compliance with record-keeping mandates set by OSHA.  There were 110 different companies included in the study.

The troubling results revealed only 10 percent of all of the companies involved in the survey were actually in compliance with OSHA rules for keeping records on workplace injuries.  The majority of companies – 97 percent – kept some type of OSHA records. However, they fell short in fulfilling one or more record-keeping requirements. Those shortfalls included:

  • Utilizing an OSHA log in order to record when a worker suffered an illness or an injury.
  • Recording all of the correct types of cases on the log as required.
  • Correctly classifying the cases included on the OSHA log, including detailing which of the incidents of workplace injury or illness necessitated days away from work (DAFW) and which of the illnesses or injuries resulted in job transfers or job restrictions (DJTR) but did not require an employer to take time off.
  • Including the injuries suffered by temporary workers in the OSHA log.
The types of failures by the different companies varied. Some companies recorded more than was actually required by OSHA, including every work injury or every single workers’  compensation claim, regardless of whether it was severe and required DAFW or DJTR.
Recording injuries that do not meet OSHA case definitions can skew important workplace safety statistics.
Other employers failed to correctly classify worker injuries. A full 53 percent of the companies who used temp workers to perform work tasks indicated that they did not include records of the injuries suffered by temp workers in their logs.  This is a big problem, as temporary workers are some of the most vulnerable.
Employers need to ensure they are following OSHA rules, and this study shows there is lots of room to improve.

Contact a Providence accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl at 508-677-4900 or visit http://www.dgklaw.com to schedule your free consultation. Serving Providence, Barrington, Bristol, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and surrounding areas.

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