Beginning this month, January 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to notify the government within 24 hours every time someone gets admitted to the hospital with an injury sustained at work.
The government estimates that tens of thousands of injuries were previously not reported. Labor secretary Thomas Perez says, “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable.”
The new rule will help OSHA focus on holding employers accountable for preventing injuries. It replaces regulations that require companies to report only incidents that result in three or more hospitalizations, called catastrophes by the agency. Workplace deaths still have to be reported within 8 hours.
All injury data will be made public on OSHA’s website.
OSHA head David Michaels, also an assistant secretary in the Department of Labor, says the public reporting of all injuries could prompt company safety reviews. Employers might take steps to prevent injuries so they’re not seen as unsafe places to work.
“After all,” says Michael, “if you had a choice of applying for a job where a worker had just lost a hand, versus one where no amputation has occurred, which one would you choose?”
The websites offer added accountability without adding staff.