OSHA warns companies over workplace injuries and illnesses

Companies would be prohibited from retaliating against employees who report workplace injuries and illnesses, under new rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency is looking to improve the tracking of injuries and illnesses that take place on the job by requiring employers to report them electronically. But some employees expressed concerns this would provide companies with yet another incentive to under-report these incidents.

So the agency said Wednesday it is considering new rules that would prohibit companies from discouraging their employees from reporting injuries and illnesses, such as by threatening to fire or discipline them.

The proposed rules would make the reporting process more simple and less threatening for employees, the department noted.

“OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health,” said David Michaels, assistant labor secretary.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule.