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Compliance deadline soon for new OSHA reporting rule

Employers in Pennsylvania will soon be required to send work-related injury and illness data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration electronically. OSHA plans to collect the data and post it for public viewing on its website. The planned public disclosure of workplace safety and health information is an effort to encourage employers to improve safety at their work sites.

The electronic recordkeeping and reporting rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, but employers must comply with certain provisions of the rule earlier. By Aug. 10 of this year, employers must be in compliance with anti-retaliation provisions of the rule that require employers to make sure employees feel comfortable reporting injuries and illnesses.

OSHA says that the anti-retaliation provisions were included with the electronic reporting rule to ensure that the electronic data it collects is accurate and complete. Employers must let their employees know about their right to report injuries and illnesses and inform them that they are protected from retaliation. To satisfy OSHA's anti-relation provisions, employers must post a workers' rights poster where employees can easily see it sometime before Aug. 10. Under existing anti-discrimination rules and the new anti-retaliation provisions, employers cannot discharge, demote or otherwise retaliate against an employee for reporting injuries or illnesses.

If an employee is injured at work, the employee may have to take time off from their job in order to recover. The injured employee may be able to claim part of the lost wages from their recovery time by filing a workers' compensation claim. An attorney might help an injured employee to file a workers' compensation claim and pursue compensation for any retaliation they might face.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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