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Some employers will have to publish individual data

Oklahoma residents may soon be able to look up their employers or prospective employers to see the number and types of injuries and illnesses employees have experienced. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has finalized a rule that will require employers to make that information public in a searchable database.

The database will be comprised of reports sent in by employers in industries deemed as high-hazard ones. OSHA will then publish the data on its website. The idea behind the new rule is that employers won't want to have the stigma of managing their companies poorly and will thus do more to prevent injuries and illnesses from occurring.

Leaders of trade associations for the covered industries are unhappy with the new rule. They believe there will be negative consequences to making the information public because doing so will not give a complete picture of the different steps companies take to make their workplaces safe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in excess of 3 million illnesses and injuries happen at U.S. workplaces every year. With the new rule, OSHA hopes to motivate employers nationwide to reduce that number while improving safety everywhere.

Workplace injuries bring substantial costs to both employers and employees, and it is in everyone's best interests to reduce the number of them. Employees who are injured may want to talk to workers' compensation lawyers about their rights to receive benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. These could reimbursement of past medical bills related to the accident, the provision of future medical care and in some cases partial wage replacement for the days on which they were unable to work.

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