OSHA Reminds Employers: Donít Discourage Injury Reports
In a March 12 memo to OSHA’s regional administrators and whistleblower program managers, OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax provided guidance on employer safety incentive and disincentive policies and practices. He issued a reminder that reporting a work-related injury or illness is a right and that employer retaliation against a worker for exercising that right is illegal under section 11(c) and puts the entire workplace at risk.
Fairfax listed some of the most common workplace policies and practices that could discourage reporting and violate a worker’s rights under 11(c) by discriminating against him/her for reporting an injury or illness. The policies and practices include:
- Employers whose policy is to discipline any worker who is injured on the job, regardless of the circumstances;
- Employers who discipline workers after they report an injury with the reason being that they violated the employer’s rule about the time or manner for reporting;
- Employers who discipline workers after they report an injury on the grounds that the injury resulted from the violation of a safety rule by the employee;
- Employers who establish incentive programs, including bonuses or drawings for prizes for those who don’t report injuries or illnesses, that unintentionally or intentionally discourage reporting by workers. Additionally these incentive programs may constitute a violation of OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements because of an employer’s failure to record injuries.
Click Here read the full memo to view more details about why these programs constitute discrimination.