Chicago partner Ken Dort was quoted in a recent Law360 article, titled, “OSHA Workplace Injury Rule Aims to Shame Cos. Into Safety.” The article discussed the proposed rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that would make workplace injury and illness data recorded by employers more accessible to the public. Lawyers believe the move is aimed at shaming employers with a large number of accidents and that such a rule is really a “scarlet letter” rule rather than a safety and health rule.
Under the rule, any company with more than 250 employees would have to report to OSHA on a quarterly basis. Smaller companies in high-injury industries would have to report to the agency annually.
There are potential problems with publishing the number of workplace incidents, such as the published date can be taken out of context in a way that can unfairly damage an employer’s reputation.
Ken noted that “employers with protected health information on employees are nevertheless going to have to be careful when filing their reports electronically to make sure they don’t disclose private information unintentionally.”
He continued, “It’s the same problem with all electronic transfers of data – the wrong data could go out much more easily than before. The risk existed before, but this new change, by making companies submit their reports electronically, would make that risk even bigger.”
To read the full article, click here.