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New OSHA Regulations: Impact on Employer’s Safety Incentive Reporting

Eric Schmitz /

OSHA has recently implemented new rules that could have a significant impact on employers.  Along with new electronic reporting requirements, amendments have been released going into effect November 1, 2016.

Employer Incentive Programs
For years OSHA has promoted the workplace safety incentive policies that encourage employees to report injury and illness. But OSHA has recently amended the regulations with certain employer requirements. The following regulations will be effective November 1, 2016:

  1. Employers are required to inform employees of their right to report injuries;
  2. Employers procedures and policies for reporting work related injuries be reasonable and won’t discourage anyone from reporting these injuries; and
  3. Prohibit retaliation of employees for reporting of work related injuries.

Now is the time for employers to review their current incentive policy that could encourage underreporting of workplace injuries. Incentives including cash or bonuses if a team does not have an accident or injury for a certain length of time, could be violating these OSHA laws.

Another question that arises when it comes to accident reporting is, if employers use drug testing as a form of retaliation. OSHA is concerned that employees may not report injuries for fear of being drug tested.

Electronic Reporting
Starting January 1st, 2017 all employers are required to submit injury and illness data to OSHA electronically. But what is most important about this new rule is that the information reported will be accessible by the public. This could cause angst with many employers as competitors and the general public will have access to their company’s injury and illness history. The new reporting rule requirements will be phased in over the course of two years.

For more information and clarification on these new OSHA rules, please join me and KPA VP of HR products, Kathryn Carlson for an educational webinar on Tuesday, July 19th at 12:00pm MST. Please click this link for more information and to register for the KPA Webinar: OSHA Rule Effect on Required Reporting.

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