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New proposal would make workplace accident data public

A proposal by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would require many of the nation's employers to make public their information about workplace accidents and work-related illnesses. The federal government currently requires Connecticut employers to record information about injuries at work and work-related illnesses, but the summaries must be posted only at the workplace, in an area where all employees can see them.

The proposal would apply only to businesses with more than 250 employees, and only in certain industries with high rates of injury. The measure would also require the summaries to be made quarterly instead of just once a year. All such reports would be available to the public online.

OSHA spokespeople said the information would give the public a better understanding of workplace safety. Some business leaders have opposed the measure, saying that it will give the public a misleading picture.

Connecticut employers have a duty to provide their employees with a reasonably safe workplace. However, to collect workers' compensation benefits, an employee does not need to prove that the employer breached its duty or did anything wrong. Instead, injured workers generally only have to prove that their injury or illness was work-related.

When the system works as it should, the injured get their workers' compensation benefits so that they can cope with medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages. When it doesn't work, the injured worker may have to fight for his or her rights. It's at times like these that an experienced Connecticut workers' compensation attorney can make a difference.

Source: Connecticut Post, "OSHA plans to make workplace safety reports public," Sam Hannel, Nov. 7, 2013

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