Raoul touts new rule improving workplace health and safety reporting

Illinois Correspondent

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL Kwame Raoul is touting a federal ruling strengthening public reporting of workplace health and safety information. – Rich Hein/Chicago Sun-Times photo

A multi-state federal lawsuit will now result in better reporting of workplace health and safety, according to an announcement from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

The new rule strengthens public reporting of workplace health and safety information and is slated to go into effect in January.

“Having sound data on workplace injuries allows employers to improve safety, which benefits everyone,” Raoul said. “Employees deserve safe working environments. Having better information about potential hazards could also reduce employers’ costs in defending against workers’ compensation claims and potentially prevent costs from being passed on to consumers.”

Worker fatalities rose to 5,190 in 2021, an 8.9 percent increase from 2020 and released from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in December 2022. The fatal work injury rate was 3.6 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers, which was higher than pandemic times and from the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5 in 2019. That’s one death from a work-related injury every 101 minutes in 2021, with a much higher rate for Black workers – 12.6 percent of all fatalities and a 20.7 percent increase from the year before.

Injuries and illnesses also remain high, with more than three million work-related incidents per year. The new rules will encourage employers to abate existing hazards and empower workers to identify risks specific to their job and seek improvements.

Raoul’s office stated that the new rules were first proposed under the Obama administration 2016, were subsequently delayed and then reversed under the Trump administration. Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York filed a lawsuit in 2019 challenging the decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to roll back public reporting requirements.

However, under the Biden administration, OSHA has reversed its position and issued rules even more stringent than proposed in 2016: detailed injury and illness reporting requirements for employers with 100 or more workers in high-risk industries. Previous requirements only applied to workplaces with 250 or more employees. A new log of work-related injuries and illnesses and a separate injury and illness report are now required, including information about what the employee was doing, how the injury occurred, the specifics of the injury, objects and substances that might have harmed the employee and more.

The information will be released to the public with employee identification redacted, as well as the names of health care professionals involved.

With the new rules, the multi-state lawsuit is now moot and will be dismissed, according to Raoul’s office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top