How can employers prepare for OSHA's final rule?
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was established under the Department of Labor to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees by setting and enforcing standards and providing assistance, education, outreach, and training. To achieve its goals, OSHA is constantly reviewing and updating their standards and regulations so they keep up with changes to the modern workplace.
OSHA’s most recent update is its final rule regarding the Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. The amendments states that:
- Injury and illness data must be electronically submitted to OSHA annually
- The electronically submitted data will be publicly disclosed on OSHA’s website
- The already existing anti-retaliation policy will be strengthened
This final rule has been subject to controversy over the last few months. One of the concerns expressed by business leaders is that making the injury and illness data publicly available leaves it open to manipulation resulting in damage to a company's image and reputation (find out How to Look After Your Business' Safety Reputation).
So, how can employers prepare for OSHA’s new final rules? Here are a few simple steps that you can take:
- Make sure that your company is currently in compliance with OSHA standards
- Review your company’s existing injury and illness reporting protocol to ensure that all work-related injuries and illnesses are being promptly and accurately reported
- Ensure that your company’s hiring procedures includes OSHA’s assurance against retaliation
- Review all of your company’s active safety incentive programs to confirm that they do not discourage accurate and prompt reporting of work-related illness and injury (find out whether Your Incentives Are Compromising Safety Culture)
- Consider implementing a software management approach to not only electronically submit OSHA forms 300A, 300, and 301, but also to run and analyze comprehensive reports to improve safety in your workplace
As an employer, it is best to design your workplace so that it not only encourages communication, but also genuinely values its employee opinions and perspectives when it comes to safety. Taking these few simple steps will help your business adapt to the new regulations presented in OSHA’s final rule and improve your company's safety culture.
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