OSHA recently changed its fatality reporting requirements on its website and will report fewer workplace fatalities in the future under a new policy. This change in reporting standards may make it more difficult for researchers to find accurate fatality data and to make safety recommendations. The policy is a change from the past few years, during which OSHA maintained a list of fatalities on its homepage with locations, names and dates. The change was made on Aug. 25 when OSHA removed the data from its homepage. This may make it much more difficult to determine how many workplace fatalities truly happen each year. When workers are killed on the job, a workers’ compensation attorney may help their families to recover benefits to replace a portion of their incomes and to pay the reasonable costs of their funeral and burial expenses.
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In the past, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration included a list of all workplace fatalities that were reported to the agency regardless of whether or not the companies were cited. Under the new policy, only fatalities that involved citations will be reported. According to Debbie Berkowitz, who advised OSHA during the Obama administration, this change will result in approximately 20 percent of the fatalities not being publicized by OSHA. The new fatality report has also been removed from the agency’s homepage and is hidden within OSHA’s internal pages.
Opponents of the new policy argue that the Trump Administration is simply trying to hide the number of workplace fatalities that happen. The Department of Labor instead argues that they are only making the information more accurate. The spokesperson also stated that past entries would not be removed from the website.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4,836 fatalities in private sector industries in 2015. That was an increase above the 4,821 who were killed at work in 2014 and was the largest number of fatalities since 2008. Among the reported deaths, self-employed workers accounted for approximately 20 percent. The overall rate of fatalities in 2015 was 3.4 per 100,000 full-time workers. Of the accidents, the largest number resulted in roadway incidents at 2,054. Falls were second, accounting for 800 deaths.
Having access to accurate fatality data is important for preventing workplace fatalities. A workers’ compensation attorney may help families to recover benefits when their loved ones are killed.
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