An important regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been repealed, making it more difficult for ongoing safety problems in the workplace to be detected. The result is already being felt among workers in Kansas City and St. Joseph who might need workers’ compensation for personal injuries suffered while on the job.
OSHA’s Recordkeeping Regulation
The issue comes from OSHA’s so-called “Volks Rule.” This rule required employers in dangerous industries to keep records of workplace injuries for five years. The Rule allowed OSHA inspectors to better protect workers by giving them the documentary evidence they needed to track ongoing health hazards in the workplace. Because the Rule required these records to go so far back in time, inspectors could see whether a workplace hazard was a continuous problem that should have been fixed by the employer, already. If this was the case, any workers’ compensation claim stemming from that hazard could recover higher damages, as a kind of penalty to the employer for not correcting the issue.
Volks Rule Repealed
Repeal Makes Unsafe Workplace Conditions Concealable
The repeal of the Volks Rule makes it almost impossible for OSHA investigators to determine if a workplace hazard or an unsafe practice on a job site has been an ongoing problem. Without solid evidence that other workers have been hurt by the dangerous condition in the past, OSHA has no way of knowing whether the danger is a new one or an old one. It allows employers to shrug their shoulders and act stupid whenever one of their workers gets hurt on the job doing something that the employer knows is a problem – OSHA investigators will no longer be able to find evidence that the danger has been there for a long time.
Poor Workplace Safety Conditions Likely to Spread
Without the recordkeeping rule in place, employers who don’t care for the safety of their workers will throw out old records. This will save them money, not only because they don’t have to store so many records, anymore, but also because workers’ compensation claims against them will no longer be able to recover extra money for ongoing safety hazards.
This serious problem extends beyond just those companies. Safety-conscious and moral employers will be put at a significant disadvantage if they continue to follow the old Volks Rule. This could threaten their survival unless they lower their safety standards. As a result, even people who work for good bosses will likely suffer after the repeal of the Volks Rule.
Kansas City Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
It’s only been a few months since the repeal of the Volks’ Rule, but we’re already seeing the repercussions of it in western Missouri. If you’ve been hurt while at the workplace, you need to contact a workers’ compensation attorney at the Smith Law Office as soon as possible. Call our law office at (816) 875-9373 or contact us online.