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Incidents of workplace injury may decrease with OSHA changes

Many businesses in Oklahoma and beyond have procedures in place for preventing and reporting injuries. For example, some job sites offer incentives or bonuses when there are no accidents or injuries. However, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently explained that such incentives may actually dissuade someone from reporting a workplace injury and jeopardizing his or her bonus. Safety incentives may also be seen as a form of retaliation against a worker who does report the accident.

Employers are encouraged to reconsider their safety incentive programs and focus instead on worker actions that promote safety, such as helping with investigations. Additionally, OSHA provides training programs for special situations that may result in preventable accidents, like falls, electrical injuries or heat and cold-related illnesses. OSHA hopes that changes in fines for safety violations will motivate employers to take advantage of these programs

Penalties for violations increased 78 percent under OSHA's new rules. Reportedly, the average inspection produces three to five citations. This means a company with typical infractions may face $30,000 to $60,000 in fines per inspection. Those who willfully defy OSHA regulations or repeatedly violate policies may see penalties over $100,000.

Employers who cut corners or resist safety protocol jeopardize their businesses and place their employees in danger. A workplace injury may mean the end of gainful employment for the injured worker, in addition to medical expenses. This is why many employees in Oklahoma retain an attorney for legal advice and help in navigating the complicated channels of workers' compensation and employment law.

Source: securityinfowatch.com, "Your Business: Big Changes for OSHA", James L. Curtis, Oct. 14, 2016

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