Laws requiring the reporting of worker injuries and illnesses have been around for decades. Long-standing rules, however, can and should be improved in order to better protect the workers here in New Jersey and across the country.
If it seems as though workers are still not as safe as they should be in the workplace, then the system might need updating. And that is what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is doing. OSHA issued a statement recently that job safety reporting regulations and norms will change by the end of this summer.
Sources are referring to the upcoming change as “modernizing” the reporting system. It is a fitting description when understanding how consumers and even job seekers live these days. It is a generation with easy access to the internet and, therefore, information. Lots of people choose the restaurants they visit based on reviews, for example. They don’t buy a pair of shoes without reading about various other options online. Even those looking for work will research a company or specific employer before considering applying.
In this age of online data and research compulsions, OSHA sees an opportunity. Employers are already required to gather worker accident and illness data for reporting purposes. Beginning in August, however, that data must be shared in a public space online, for consumers, prospective employees and safety watchdogs (OSHA) to see. The workplace safety data will be posted on OSHA’s website, with the employer name available (not the injured worker’s.)
The hope is that this process update will feel like a sort of public shaming or bad publicity threat. When a business’ bottom line is threatened because of public knowledge about its unsafe practices, maybe it will take more seriously its duty to provide a safe work environment for its workers.