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Workplace injury data to be made public on OSHA's website

Louisiana employers may have more incentive to keep their workplaces safe thanks to a final rule that has been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Beginning on Aug. 10, OSHA will require certain employers to submit data about workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA will then post the data on its website for the public to see and also make the data available to researchers.

Individual employers are already required to keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses, but those records are rarely made public. Now, employers in high-hazard industries could face public scrutiny for operating dangerous workplaces. An OSHA spokesman said that the new reporting requirements could encourage employers to keep their workplaces safe in order to attract investors, customers and employees.

When the workplace injury data is available on OSHA's website, prospective employees will be able to compare the data submitted by different workplaces and make a more informed decision about where they want to work. The new OSHA rule also encourages workers to report injuries and illnesses that they experience on the job. Under the final rule, employees are protected from retaliation when they report injuries and illnesses.

Workers' compensation programs exist to protect those who are injured on the job or who contract an occupational disease. Some employers in an attempt to keep their premiums down discourage the filing of claims, and the new OSHA rule addresses that issue as well in favor of the worker. People who have seen their claims disputed or denied or who are being pressured not to file one may want to meet with an attorney in order to see what remedies may be available.

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