A Capehart Scatchard Blog

OSHA Is Considering New Reporting Procedures for Employers for Work Injuries

By on September 4, 2014 in Uncategorized with 1 Comment

Employers continue to deal with federal intrusions in workers’ compensation: the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute and now new rules being considered by OSHA.  On November 8, 2013, OSHA published a notice of proposed rule-making to amend the agency’s regulations on reporting injuries and illnesses.

OSHA is concerned that injury reporting may be inaccurate because employers may have policies that discourage employees from reporting injuries.  Therefore, OSHA is considering three provisions:

  1. A requirement that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses free from discrimination or retaliation;
  2. A provision requiring that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and,
  3. A prohibition against disciplining employees for reporting injuries or illnesses.

OSHA is asking the following questions:

  • Do you or does your employer currently inform employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses?  If so, please describe how and when this information is provided.
  • Are there any difficulties or barriers an employer might face in trying to provide such information to its employees?  If so, please describe them.
  • How might an employer best provide this information:  orally to the employee, through a written notice, posting or in some other manner?

Adverse actions mentioned by participants in public meetings with OSHA include automatically disciplining those who seek medical attention and requiring an employee who reported an injury to undergo drug testing where there was no reason to suspect drug use.

There are already rules prohibiting discrimination against an employee for reporting a work-related injury or illness, but OSHA is not satisfied with existing rules.  It feels additional explicitness is needed because stakeholders were concerned that new requirements to publicize record-keeping data might provide employers new motivation for disciplining employees for reporting.

The comment period for the proposed rule runs on October 14, 2014.  Thanks to National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network member, Mike Fish, Esq. of Fish, Nelson and Holden in Alabama for bringing this development to our attention.

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About the Author

About the Author:

John H. Geaney, a shareholder and co-chair of Capehart Scatchard's Workers' Compensation department, began an email newsletter entitled Currents in Workers’ Compensation, ADA and FMLA in 2001 in order to keep clients and readers informed on leading developments in these three areas of law. Since that time he has written over 500 newsletter updates.

Mr. Geaney is the author of Geaney’s New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Manual for Practitioners, Adjusters & Employers. The manual is distributed by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). He also authored an ADA and FMLA manual as distributed by NJICLE. If you are interested in purchasing the manual, please contact NJICLE at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at www.njicle.com.

Mr. Geaney represents employers in the defense of workers’ compensation, ADA and FMLA matters. He is a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association and is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a workers’ compensation law attorney. He is one of two firm representatives to the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. He has served on the Executive Committee of Capehart Scatchard for over ten (10) years.

A graduate of Holy Cross College summa cum laude, Mr. Geaney obtained his law degree from Boston College Law School. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by his peers and Law and Politics. He serves as Vice President of the Friends of MEND, the fundraising arm of a local charitable organization devoted to promoting affordable housing.

Capehart Scatchard is a full service law firm with offices in Mt. Laurel and Trenton, New Jersey. The firm represents employers and businesses in a wide variety of areas, including workers’ compensation, civil litigation, labor, environmental, business, estates and governmental affairs.

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There is 1 Brilliant Comment

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  1. Wow !! Even though most people in the industry will say that this is not a big deal and that most Employers already abide by these guidelines….This is what should really worry everyone. “Adverse actions mentioned by participants in public meetings with OSHA include… requiring an employee who reported an injury to undergo drug testing where there was no reason to suspect drug use.”

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