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Will new regulations reduce work-related injuries?

Many of our Los Angeles area readers would probably expect employers to be on board with federal requirements that are designed to help improve safety in the workplace. After all, employers should want their employees to be able to do their jobs day-in and day-out without interruption, right? Well, that might not be the case if new federal regulations that are being proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration get expected pushback.

According to a recent report, OSHA has proposed a regulation that would require companies with more than 250 employees to submit data regarding injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace. The report indicates that OSHA is preparing to develop a website where this data could be accessible to the general public.

Why would this be a bad thing? Well, there are some who expect pushback from employers because it could shine a not-so-flattering light on their safety records. That, in turn, could lead to negative media coverage or it could make it more difficult to recruit employees to work at the company to begin with.

It appears that the hope behind this new OSHA initiative is to reduce the instances of work-related injuries by making employers publicly accountable for their safety records. Work-related injuries can be devastating for employees, leaving them unable to work and earn an income. In the worst case scenarios, these employees may even need to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Federal regulations intended to reduce the number of workplace injuries may be helpful in reducing the number of people whose lives are significantly impacted by these events.

Source: The Hill, "'Nudging' toward a safer workplace by making injury records public," Stuart Shapiro, May 27, 2016

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