AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement in reaction to new rules to modernize workplace injury reporting and protect workers who report injuries.
The new OSHA injury reporting rules will bring workplace injury and illness reporting into the 21st century and provide important new protections to workers who report injuries.
Until now, most workplace injury records have only been available at the workplace, making it impossible to know which employers have bad or good injury records. Employers in high hazard industries will now have to electronically submit a summary of their firms’ injuries and illnesses to OSHA each year, and large employers will have to submit more detailed injury and illness information. OSHA, workers, and the public will have access to this information.
This new transparency will assist OSHA and workers in identifying hazardous workplaces. In addition, employers will be able to compare their records with other employers in their industry and public health officials and researchers will be able to identify emerging trends. Most importantly, this data will help prevent future injuries, illnesses and deaths.
We are pleased that the new rules also include important protections to ensure that workers can report injuries without fear of retaliation. For far too long, in an effort to keep reported injury rates low, employers have retaliated against workers for reporting injuries, disciplining them for every injury or creating barriers to reporting. Now these violations will be subject to citations and penalties. With these stronger protections, workers will be more willing to report injuries, which will help with overall prevention.