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OSHA proposes new method of reporting workplace injuries

Identifying and fixing safety issues at work can be crucial, but it can also be very difficult. Not all workplace accidents are the result of a single event or failure. Sometimes, a worker's safety is put at risk because of an ongoing issue that may be caused by multiple factors. Under these circumstances, it can be very challenging for people to know how the safety of workers could be affected because single events may not raise any concerns on their own.

That is partly why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a new method or reporting workplace safety issues. But the proposed change has been widely debated and Colorado residents may want to be aware of what supporters and critics of the move are saying.

According to reports, OSHA wants to require companies to report workplace injuries or illnesses electronically instead of on a paper form, and the information would be made available to the public.

Supporters of the move say that electronic submissions will make it possible to improve workplace safety overall. It will also provide employers, employees and even potential employees with a comprehensive look at how safe a company may or may not be. The data collected electronically will allow people to easily see what type of injury or illness was reported, when it happened and where it happened. Companies can then use this data to identify safety concerns they may have otherwise missed or ignored.

But critics of the proposed change argue that electronic reporting could result in misinformation to the public, as people could take incidences out of context. And despite the fact that electronic reporting could encourage employers to provide safer working environments, the fact that the information would be publicly available would cause concerns about privacy. Implementing the change could also be quite expensive, as it comes with a price tag of $11.9 million per year.

What do you think? Would publicly reporting work-related injuries and illness electronically help or hurt safety in the workplace?

Source: Fleet Owner, "OSHA rule would give public electronic access to workplace reports," Jan. 15, 2014

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