When you are hurt on the job, there are protections in place to help you cover your bills and get back on your feet. Not all employers are keen on being held responsible for your injury, however. For this reason, both the State of New York and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration have rules protecting your rights. One of these, according to the Bassett Healthcare Network, is the OSHA Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, which clarified anti-retaliation rules that went into effect one year ago.
The Anti-Retaliation Rule
While the Final Rule is primarily focused on the systems used for tracking work-related injuries and illnesses by creating a requirement for digital recording, OSHA recognized that accurate tracking requires accurate reporting. To this end, OSHA clarified a three-part rule protecting employees against retaliation from employers for reporting their injuries. First, employers must inform employees of their right to report workplace injuries and illnesses free from fear. One easy way to meet this requirement is a poster that employers are already supposed to display, OSHA's Job Safety and Health - It's The Law poster. Any version of the poster dated April 2015 or later will include the information necessary to meet the anti-retaliation clause of the Final Rule.
Secondly, the Final Rule directly states that employers may not retaliate against employees for reporting injuries. More complex, however, is the other provision in the rule, which states that employers may not have systems in place to make reporting difficult. This was an implicit rule before, assumed under other obligations, but is now stated clearly in the Final Rule. According to the FAQ for the Final Rule, OSHA was previously only able to protect workers against retaliation if the employee filed a complaint with them within 30 days of the incident. Under the new provision, however, OSHA can cite employers for acts of retaliation or for having systems that deter or discourage employees from reporting to begin with, even if no employee files a complaint.
As a worker, you are entitled to a safe workplace and the ability to hold your employer accountable for injuries and illnesses that happen on the clock or because of actions taken at work. With this new rule in place, you have more power on your side to help keep you safe and receive appropriate compensation if something goes wrong. If you or a loved one is injured on the job, and you find any obstacles to the workers' compensation you deserve, you need an experienced legal team familiar with cases just like yours to help fight for your rights. Contact us today to find out how we can help.