Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Changes in reporting regulations may benefit workers

Maryland employees may be interested to learn about a May 2016 rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding drug testing following a workplace accident. The rule, which was implemented under the name 'Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," requires employers in certain industries to submit injury and illness data to OSHA electronically and could affect future workers' compensation claims, according to news reports.

Under previous OSHA regulations, employers were required to keep that data on-hand but not necessarily to submit it to OSHA on a regular basis. The specific industries that will be required to submit injury data to OSHA was not reported. Sources indicate that OSHA will take the data submitted by employers and put it on a website that is accessible to the public, but no specific employee names will be used. OSHA hopes that having the data out in the open will improve employer accountability and help protect employee rights.

Citing privacy concerns and lack of proper reporting, OSHA said that the new rule was implemented because a blanket rule requiring a post-accident drug test may not yield accurate results. In many cases, it added, employees are required to submit a drug test following a workplace injury even if there is no evidence that drugs were a factor in the accident.

Additionally, OSHA believes that a blanket rule regarding workplace accident drug testing may deter employees from seeking compensation to which they are entitled, such as medical expenses, for fear of employer retaliation. Whether or not a post-accident drug test was performed, employees who are injured while on the job may wish to seek assistance from an attorney in order to properly file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

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