OSHA recently announced that the enforcement date of the anti-retaliation provisions of its new rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses is delayed to December 1, 2016. Enforcement of the rule was originally slated for August 2016 and entire final rule can be found here.
The anti-retaliation provisions that will be enforced next month involve: (1) workplace injury/illness reporting, (2) post-accident drug testing and (3) incentive programs. Today’s blog post will focus on injury reporting and what employers need to do to ensure that they are in compliance.
In an attempt to better understand workplace incidents and focus their activities where it counts, OSHA wants to ensure that all workers feel free to report any workplace injury or illness to their employer without fear of retaliation. To that end, OSHA now requires employers to develop reasonable reporting procedures and to train their employees and supervisors.
OSHA will be closely scrutinizing vague disciplinary policies that reprimand employees for not “working carefully” or not “maintaining situational awareness”. Also, any termination or layoff decisions involving employees who have recently reported a work-related injury may be closely reviewed by OSHA to ensure that the termination was unrelated to the reporting of an work-related injury.
Consider the following in your own policies and procedures:
- Train employees and supervisors on the accident reporting process
- Make the process simple and clear
- Encourage reporting
- Develop a positive return to work culture
- Do not reprimand for accident reporting
- Never terminate injured employees solely because they have reported a workplace injury
For more information on compliance with OSHA’s new rule, contact Tiffany Passmore, Director of Client Services at The Flanders Group at 800-462-6435 ext. 234 or visit OSHA’s FAQ page here.