Employees in Pennsylvania and throughout the country are increasingly safer in the workplace, but experts say there is still a long way to go. In 2015, the lowest rate of nonfatal work-related accidents and illnesses since 2002 were reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Twelve out of the past 13 years have seen a decrease in such rates.
With the agency focusing more on reporting and less on core safety issues, the hope is that there will be less underreporting. OSHA is also concerned about retaliation against employees who report injuries. However, they say that the majority of employers want to comply with their new reporting rules and other regulations.
One expert says that lower injury figures do not necessarily mean that a workplace is safer. As an example, while injury rates in the oil and gas field went down, there were also fewer jobs in that industry. Less demand in other fields may also mean workers are not as rushed and are therefore working more safely. A critical element for safety is leadership that prioritizes that safety. That means encouraging workers and supervisors to speak out about safety issues without fear of retaliation.
When a person is injured in the workplace, retaliation for applying for workers’ compensation benefits is illegal. Unfortunately, some employers may not recognize this, or some workers may not know their rights. Workers might be concerned about losing their jobs. Injured workers who have found themselves in this type of a situation may want to meet with an attorney in order to learn more about what benefits they are eligible for.