As more information about OSHA’s new reporting and record keeping rules, the scope of the requirements is getting a bit clearer as are OSHA’s motivations. There are two distinct parts to the rule: Data Collection and Anti-Retaliation. The anti-retaliation can be looked at in two different parts… I will try to outline them below.
As noted in yesterday’s post, the new data collection requirements will be brought upon all large and many small businesses. The smaller businesses are listed on the OSHA site for the new rule by NAICS code for businesses that are deemed more dangerous. OSHA will be publishing establishment data on their site. In OSHA’s words, they are trying to “nudge” employers in to improve their safety record. In much the same way that posting health inspections at restaurants encourage good health practices, posting a businesses accident record will help employees seek out employers that are safer. I’m sure we will learn more about this as we move forward.
The second part of the rule deals with stopping businesses from discouraging accident and injury reporting. This includes the use of incentive programs and post accident testing.
All employers will be required to notify (not clear how that needs to take place yet) that they have the right to report accidents and injuries, safety concerns and make complaints about safety to OSHA. This notification needs to be done by Aug 10, 2016. We will have more on this at a later date.
OSHA has repeatedly denounced the practices of safety incentives if they can in any way discourage employees from reporting either by peer pressure or by pressure from management. This will give OSHA better footing to cite employers for such practices. The use of drug screening or the threat of drug screening can be construed as discouraging employees from reporting injuries as well so OSHA now takes the position that such drug testing will only be tolerated when the impairment contributed to the accident and that the test can accurately indicate impairment. This may run counter to drug free workplace policies all around the country.
This is a very complicated rule and we are still digesting all of the nuances in it. This will not be the last blog posting on this new OSHA Rule.