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OSHA updates some rules for workplace injury and illness reports

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is charged with overseeing every aspect of worker safety -- including tracking illnesses caused by work environments. In order to improve its ability to monitor instances of a work-related accident or illness, OSHA recently implemented new guidelines for employers. These new rules were implemented to safeguard the rights of workers here in Missouri and across the country to report on-the-job injuries and illnesses.

The new provisions have two components. The first element is to make sure that certain employers submit reports of an injury or illness electronically along with the required paper reports. This new requirement went into effect at the first of the year.

The second component protects employees from any type of retaliation by their employer when they do report an incident. This rule prevents employers from engaging in certain tactics they may have implemented in the past, such as suspending an injured worker or severely limiting the window that a worker has to report an accident or illness. The rule also stipulates that employers may not require a drug test if the injury or illness was not related to any type of drug use or if the testing methods used simply imply drug use at some point in the recent past.

Employers had some questions related to the new requirements that OSHA addressed in order to clarify both the rights of workers and employers. The federal agency works diligently to help protect the well-being of workers, though it isn't possible to prevent every accident or illness. In the event that a Missouri worker suffers an injury or illness related to work duties, a claim may be filed with the workers' compensation program. In doing so, many workers' rely upon the support and guidance of an experienced workers' comp attorney. 

Source: bizjournals.com, "OSHA changes rule on tracking workplace injuries and illnesses", Woody Hill, July 30, 2017

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