OSHA Injury Reporting Requirements Could be a Sword for Pennsylvania Injury Cases
On Dec. 16, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a major record-keeping rule clarification. Pursuant to the new guidance, an employer has a “continuing obligation” to make and maintain accurate records of each recordable injury and illness. As a result, employers who fail to properly record workplace injuries and illnesses can be issued citations for unrecorded injuries and illnesses for up to the full five-year record-retention period for which such records must be maintained.
How does this affect injured Pennsylvania Workers you may ask? One of the biggest obstacles injured workers face when pursuing a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim can be notice. In other words, did the injured worker provide proper notice to the employer to trigger the employer’s obligations under the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act to accept or reject the injury. Many times employers will attempt to ignore an employee when the employee provides notice of a work related injury in the hopes that the injury claim will just go away. With the OSHA reporting rule clarification, it signifies a potential area of enforcement and emphasis with OSHA and could potentially make employers more likely to take reports of injuries seriously. This in turn could potentially minimize one of the biggest obstacles to injured workers who need Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits.
If you have been injured in a work related incident at work you should be aware of your obligations to report your injury and you should be proactive in documenting your report. You may want to request to fill out a written accident report, keep a copy of the report and keep notes regarding who you reported the injury to and when. If you need to file for workers compensation benefits, this information will help you defeat a notice defense by the employer, but it also could be evidence used by OSHA to investigate and potentially fine an employer for their illegal action.
If you have questions about your rights after reporting a Pennsylvania work related injury you should speak to an experienced Pennsylvania worker’s compensation attorney.