The changes announced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are more likely to take effect sooner than most companies expected.
But these rules will not allow employers to reward their employees for their excellent behavior and for avoiding accidents. Also, in the case of a work accident companies won’t be permitted to drug-test their workers.
According to a local attorney, workers might be discouraged by this new policy and as a consequence, they will refrain themselves from reporting illnesses and injuries. Breaking these rules will lead to a fine between $7,000 and $12,740 just for the first serious citation.
But for deliberate or repeated violations, employers will have to pay a fine ranging from $70,000 to $127,400. According to Mark Kittaka, partner with Barnes & Thornburg and head of the local labor and employment law department, the electronic reporting requirement is not the only change brought by the OSHA decisions.
Starting from August 10th, Ohio employers must adopt these federal changes issued by the OSHA. Indiana makes an exception, and it will start applying these regulations on October 9th because employers are granted a 60-day grace period before complying with these rules.
Kittaka confessed that he had to review these rules in front of his colleagues because most of them were unaware of the changes.
According to John Dortch, CEO, and president of The Preston Joan Group (a local HR consulting firm), a significant number of employers require their workers to make a drug and alcohol test in case of a job accident.
Also, rewarding employees for their safety oriented behavior is an excellent idea, as it encourages them to continue promoting the safety regulation while they also set an example for every other employee.
Safety comes first in every company. That is why it is important to take account of every situation that is related to this matter. On the other hand, the strict rules issued by the OSHA are more likely to discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
Kittaka underlined that testing and other policy related to work injuries and accidents should be highly discreet.
This way, employers will find out about the problem and employees will have the courage to report these work issues without worrying about their image. Maybe OSHA will review these regulations one day, and they will come up with other ideas.
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