Beginning July 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor will require employers to provide information about injuries and illnesses that their workers have suffered on the job. Employers will have to provide this information in electronic form, and OSHA will then post it to a public database so that anyone can look up the safety records of a particular employer. Historically, employers have been required to log information about accidents and injuries that occur at their work sites, but this information did not have to be shared.
By making these records public, OSHA hopes to prevent some of the millions of work-related injuries that occur in the United States every year, as well as some of the thousands of work-related deaths. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 3 million workers were injured on the job, and more than 4,500 were killed in work-related accidents in 2014, the latest year for which data is available.
The new plan will presumably put pressure on employers to provide safer working environments. And workers will soon be able to research potential employers' safety records, increasing transparency and raising awareness of the dangers they may face on a particular job site.
In the meantime, it will be over a year until this information becomes public. During that time, workers will continue to be injured, sometimes on a job site that they could have avoided if they had had access to accurate employer safety records. Workers who have been injured and families of workers who have been killed on the job deserve respect and compensation for their losses. If you or your family has experienced such an event, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options and get the help you need to move forward.