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OSHA eliminates requirement to report worker injuries

Large employers in North Carolina will no longer have to file individual incident reports for workplace accidents and injuries, according to a new action by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA announced on Jan. 24 that it was eliminating a rule created by the Obama administration for companies employing more than 250 people that mandated the filing of two electronic forms if workers were injured, made ill or killed in the workplace. Form 300 and Form 301 identified the injured workers, the type of injury involved and the effects of the injury, including missed work days or altered job duties.

The new rule implemented by OSHA has done away with the requirement to complete these forms. Instead, each employer of any size will only need to file one form, a summary of work-related illnesses and injuries that reports annual statistics of illnesses, injuries and deaths. The agency argued that the rule change aimed to protect workers' privacy since the forms could be vulnerable to disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act. However, others cast doubt upon the agency's stated motivation, noting that it comes along with other Trump administration moves to reduce regulations on corporations and minimize protections for workers.

Even OSHA itself stated that it aimed to minimize the regulatory burden and increase the agency's efficiency by eliminating the reporting requirements. Congressional critics claim that eliminating the forms will diminish the agency's ability to properly track workplace safety hazards. They argue that the forms could also encourage enforcement by drawing attention to OSHA violations.

Workers who are injured on the job may rack up significant medical bills. Unfortunately, many workplace injuries may be caused by employer safety violations. No matter who is at fault for an incident, a lawyer could help an injured employee protect their rights and pursue workers' compensation benefits.

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