One of the most powerful groups to protect workers’ rights to a safe workplace—both in Missouri and the rest of the U.S.—is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, OSHA is understaffed and facing even steeper budget cuts. This makes it crucial for them to allocate their resources wisely and target the most dangerous workplaces for inspection.
Now, OSHA is making it clear that it would not use its enforcement mechanisms that punish employers for not reporting workplace injuries. The result leaves employers with little reason to report injuries. This at-risk workers in even more danger, and stresses Missouri’s workers’ compensation laws.
OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Regulation
One of OSHA’s ways of keeping workers safe was to require certain employers to report workplace injuries to the federal government. If employers had more than 249 employees, or had a worksite with more than 19 in a high hazard industry, then they had to send in OSHA Form 300A every year.
In all, there are around 350,000 employers who have to send OSHA this form.
OSHA relies on this regulation to know where workplace injuries are happening. Armed with this knowledge, OSHA can target worksites and employers that have bad track records with workplace safety.
Regulation Will Be Left Unenforced
Typically, if employers did not provide this information, they would face a citation and a fine.
But when OSHA only received 153,653 reports—less than half of what was expected—it made it clear that it would not take much action. OSHA’s director of enforcement, Tom Galassi, issued a memo saying that there would be no fine if employers provided the information during an inspection. But employers are already required to do this, so the memo does not actually enforce anything. It also gives employers no reason to follow the regulation’s requirements.
How This Impacts Workers’ Compensation
The employers who are most likely to refuse to submit this information are those who have had numerous workplace accidents, and whose workers are most likely to get hurt and need workers’ compensation. They are also the workers who would benefit the most from an OSHA inspection.
This increases the chances that you will suffer a workplace accident and be in need of workers’ compensation. After all, if employers face no penalties for refusing to fix dangerous conditions that put you at risk, there is little chance that they will take the initiative.
St. Joseph Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Smith Law Office
OSHA is one of the most effective agencies at preventing workplace injuries. With this preventative measure losing its ability to stop people from getting hurt at work, the need for effective workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys becomes even more extreme.
If you or someone you love has been severely hurt while on the job in Kansas City or western Missouri, call the Smith Law Office in St. Joseph for the effective legal help you need: (816) 875-9373 or contact us online.