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OSHA Touts Results Following First Year of New Reporting Requirements

2-construction-workersA year after initial implementation of a new series of workplace injury reporting rules, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a report outlining conclusions drawn from accumulated data, which may serve to boost employer-based safety initiatives and produce better outcomes.

OSHA’s release assesses the implications of the more than 10,000 incidents of serious workplace injuries reported to the agency in 2015 and suggests how continued use of the statistics can aid in reducing dangers nationwide.

Reporting initiative broadens disclosure requirements

While it is true that employers subject to OSHA rules were already required to report any workplace accident resulting in death within eight hours of the event itself, the agency’s new reporting framework prompted employers to report another 7,000 injuries leading to hospitalization as well as 2,500 work site injuries necessitating amputation.

According to the data aggregated by OSHA in the past year, roughly 30 employment-related incidents occur each and every day, a statistic which sheds light on the very real dangers faced by workers at sites across the country. OSHA’s report asserts that the lion’s share of hazards responsible for such injuries are indeed preventable and could be ameliorated by employer-initiated use of guardrails, enhanced signage, fall protection equipment and other safety tools.

Agency touts critical role of employer self-reporting

According to OSHA officials, the newly-implemented reporting rules are designed in part to encourage self-reporting and self-assessment among employers to aid in the identification of dangers and the swift correction of known problems. The agency argues that employers who have willingly worked in conjunction with OSHA have seen significant reductions in worker injuries and have assisted in the development of strategies other workplaces can successfully adopt. The philosophy at work, says OSHA, is that employer interaction with the agency in the aftermath of an injury event tends to produce quick remedial actions even if no formalized governmental inspection process is launched.

Rules yield positive results, though reporting gaps persist

Though OSHA officials point to multiple workplace injury event reports which ultimately yielded notable employer-based safety initiatives, agency personnel have acknowledged that the protocols simply cannot eradicate all hazards faced by workers. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor, has suggested that OSHA is optimistic about employer participation in the first year under the new rules, but also realizes that the actual total of serious workplace injuries is probably two times the number reported.

Making matters worse is the fact that OSHA lacks the resources to send inspectors to each and every questionable work site in order to root out the most egregious dangers. In the end, reliance on workplace self-reporting is a necessary fact of life, and there are almost certainly going to be some employers who are determined to sidestep federal rules.

Financial recovery for workplace injury victims

In New York and New Jersey, worker’s compensation systems have been implemented in order to give those injured on the job the financial resources they and their families need to recover. The decision by an employee to accept such payments, however, renders him or her unable to file a lawsuit against an employer for negligence which may have caused them to suffer harm in the first place. Though some injury victims may find worker’s compensation payments sufficient to meet their needs, others will quickly learn that the amount offered is wholly inadequate to pay for the unexpected expenses and other financial losses experienced as a result of their accident. Such an outcome is often the case where a worker is killed, leaving behind one or more dependents.

As a result, many workplace injury victims may want to consider filing what is known as a third-party claim against an entity or enterprise other than their own employer. When the acts or omissions of such a party can be established as a direct cause of the harm sustained, legal action of this type can prove extremely effective.

According to OSHA’s report, construction site injuries accounted for 19 percent of all events requiring hospitalization. Even if victims accept a worker’s compensation payout, they may also be able to file suit against third parties including:

  • subcontractors

  • architects

  • engineers

  • manufacturers of heavy construction equipment

  • public utility companies

  • truck drivers

  • crane operators

  • project managers

Workplace injury advocates serving New Jersey and NY

The personal injury lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh understand the upheaval and loss that can stem from a workplace accident, and we want victims to know they are not alone. If you would like to learn more about how we can explore the facts of your case and provide the insights necessary for you to make informed choices about your legal options, contact us at 201.342.5545.

  1. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Year One of OSHA's Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation, https://www.osha.gov/injuryreport/2015.pdf
  2. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA FactSheet: Updates to OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule: Reporting Fatalities and Severe Injuries, https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/OSHA3745.pdf
  3. Washington Post, Report of 10,000 severe workplace injuries might be only half the problem https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/03/18/report-of-10000-severe-workplace-injuries-might-be-only-half-the-problem/