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Oklahoma becomes battleground for workplace safety dispute

Oklahoma City has become the battleground for a new fight over workplace safety. The National Association of Home Builders, along with several other industry groups, has filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma against U.S. Department of Labor for a rule that they believe is unfair.

The rule in question, the "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" was put into place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in an effort to reduce workplace injuries. It requires some companies to electronically send injury reports to OSHA and enacts more "reasonable" procedures to allow employees to report injuries more efficiently. It also makes workplace injuries and illnesses a matter of public record by posting them online. 

The suit claims that the new rule places too much of a burden on businesses and could damage their public reputations. Proponents of the rule argue that it casts a light on workplace injuries and encourages employers to take better care of their employees' safety. In other words, if you don't want to take a hit to your reputation, maintain a safe working environment.

The suit was filed in Oklahoma because our courts are seen as more conservative and apt to side with employers.

Regardless of how you feel about OSHA's rule, the fact remains that workplace injuries happen every day in the Sooner State and employees are entitled to receive workers' compensation when they're injured at work.

If you've been denied workers' compensation for an injury or illness you believe was caused by your work, you may want to think about speaking with an employee's rights attorney.

Source: newsok.com, "National builders, other trade groups, sue OSHA for 'overreach' in Oklahoma federal court," Richard Maze, January 5, 2017

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