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Reporting an injury may impact workers' compensation claim

Employers nationwide, including in New York City, will have to become compliant with the regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding electronic reporting of injuries by Dec. 1, 2017. The ability of OSHA to maintain data regarding the extent and occurrence of various injuries will theoretically help government entities to then strengthen the focus and efficiency of both safety rules and workers' compensation statutory frameworks. The regulation would require employers with more than  250 employees to submit data electronically regarding worker injuries.

The regulation also would require reporting by employers with more than 20 employees in certain high-risk industries. The regulation requires the employer to establish reporting protocol and provides penalties for employers who retaliate against employees for reporting injuries or illnesses. The dramatic change in the political face of the federal government, however, has put the fate of the regulation in doubt.

According to experts, the rule could be withdrawn, modified, delayed or even expedited under the current cloud of uncertainty. An Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA has not been nominated by the current administration. Much is left to guesswork until that office is filled. In the meantime, of course, the fate of the regulation does not change the fact that an injured employee should make every effort to report his or her work-related injury to the employer without delay after it occurs.

Despite the political jockeying that may occur regarding electronic reporting by employers, workers in New York City must remain vigilant to protect their own rights by always reporting quickly to the employer a work-related illness or injury. Delays in reporting can be held against a worker who later tries to collect workers' compensation benefits. Not only should the worker notify his or her supervisor of the illness or injury, but he or she should also obtain and fill out any forms the employer makes available for that purpose. Whenever the employee feels that some aspect of the claim has been ignored or compromised by the employer or the employer's insurer, the employee should immediately obtain a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation law firm.

Source: businessinsurance.com, "Electronic injury, illness reporting still uncertain despite new compliance date", Gloria Gonzalez, July 5, 2017

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