The Department of Labor has just announced a change to their normal process for injury and illness data. Beginning in July of 2017, all companies with 250 or more employees will be required to report their injury and illness data directly to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency will then post this information online for access to anyone from the public.
OSHA indicates that the new rule was inspired by behavioral economics. It noted that restaurants have improved sanitary conditions in their establishments since they have been required to post their health and cleanliness grades that they receive from the local county departments of health. OSHA expects that the same will happen with business operations when OSHA starts posting the injury information of individual companies online for anyone to see.
Under current rules, all employers must keep a log of work related injuries and illnesses. Those logs can be reviewed by employees or by OSHA inspectors who visit the locations. However, the information is not collected by OSHA nor is it published online.
Starting July 2017, all companies with more than 250 employees will be required to file this information electronically with OSHA and it will be posted online for all to see. Smaller companies will be required to report much less information; just the number of injuries and illnesses as well as the total number of hours worked, but not as extensive as larger organizations. According to OSHA, the new rules will force business organizations to pay even more attention to preventing injuries and illnesses. It’s expected that businesses with higher injury rates will garner unwanted attention from the media, dissuade potential applicants for employment and attract potential lawsuits around poor working conditions.
Business entities can take steps now to reduce the impact of these new regulations by acting to reduce their injuries and illnesses now. An effective Injury and Illness Protection Program, a comprehensive inspection of its operations and processes and appropriate safety training for all employees can help to reduce injuries and illnesses in the workplace. It can also have a significant impact on workers compensation programs by reducing costs and premiums.
Western Growers has a long track record of assisting members with all of these issues. If you would like assistance with any of these items, contact Greg Nelson, Vice President of Western Growers Insurance Services, at (949) 885-2287.