The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is not collecting enough information on workplace deaths and injuries that occur in Pennsylvania and around the country, according to a government audit report. In addition, the agency does not always issue citations to employers that fail to report these incidents.
For the report, which was released on Sept. 13, auditors from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General examined data collected from 3,642 deaths and 18,805 severe injuries reported between January 2015 and September 2016. They then compared that data with fatality and injury data posted on OSHA’s website. They found that the agency did not provide enough guidance and training on how to detect the underreporting of injuries. They also found that the agency did not do enough to ensure that employers properly mitigated safety hazards once an incident had occurred.
As a result of the audit’s findings, the OIG recommended that OSHA develop guidance and train staff to identify and prevent the underreporting of injuries. It also urged the agency to consistently issue citations to employers that fail to report injuries on time and to do more to confirm that employers have corrected safety hazards. Finally, the report recommended that OSHA conduct inspections on all Category 1 safety incidents.
Most victims of workplace injuries have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits, which help them cover expenses while they are unable to work. Unfortunately, many employers and insurance companies attempt to reduce the amount of benefits a worker is entitled to. However, an attorney could help ensure a claim is properly prepared and push for a worker to receive the maximum settlement allowable under the law.
Source: Safety+Health, “OIG finds flaws in OSHA’s fatality and severe injury reporting program“, Sept. 20, 2018