Will new OSHA rule curb Chicago work-related deaths and injuries?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants more transparency when it comes to companies’ safety reports. This could be welcome news for employees as more transparency could mean fewer injuries and Chicago work-related deaths.

The new rule, revealed by a source who requested anonymity so as not to preempt the formal announcement, will allow safety reports to be accessed by the public. This will be accomplished by employing a new electronic system. The new initiative will affect companies that have 250 or more employees.

Business groups are expected to frown upon the proposed new rule. The Executive Director of the United States Chamber of Commerce’s labor policy states that the recording of incidences is not a clear indication of the safety status of a company. In turn, companies may be targeted by outside groups if they view employers as having less than reputable safety records.

On the other hand, while the opposition may see the changes as misleading and prone to misuse, workplace safety organizations and labor groups are expected to have a different sentiment. Safety advocates have long complained to OSHA that the fines for violations are not sufficient in pushing companies to have better safety standards.

Whether the new rule will have a significant change in the workplace is yet to be seen. Often, construction workers are the most prone to accidents because they are more exposed to dangerous machinery and hazardous chemicals.

However, whether a worker was injured in a construction accident or any workplace accident, there is usually an option to hold an employer legally responsible for the accident. The same can be said of a fatality. In that type of situation, a family member can file a legal action on behalf of a worker who has lost his life in a workplace accident. In both instances, compensation can be obtained to help cover damages.

Source: Whig.com, “AP source: OSHA Wants Safety Reports Made Public,” Sam Hananel, Nov. 7, 2013