Employers in New Jersey and around the country are required to report workplace injuries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They are also under a continuing obligation to keep records of the injuries in order to help prevent future accidents and to save lives. In December, OSHA released an updated rule about the ongoing obligation that employers have to report and maintain their records.
According to OSHA, an employer’s obligation to maintain records about workplace injuries and illnesses does not go away just because it failed to report either at the time that they occurred.
OSHA’s updated rule comes as a response to a 2012 federal court ruling that found that OSHA did not have five and one-half years to issue citations for record-keeping violations. Instead, the court held that the agency has six months to issue citations from the date that the employer should have reported the injury or illness. OSHA had contended that it had five and one-half years because the records must be maintained for at least five years. The agency stated that the new rule does not make any changes but rather reinforces what has been required for the past four decades.
People who are injured on the job often need extensive medical treatment, and many are unable to return to work for prolonged periods of time. Most New Jersey employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and the benefits thereunder can help with the reimbursement of medical bills and in some cases provide a portion of the worker’s wages during recovery. Many workers find that having the assistance of an attorney in the preparation of a claim can be advisable.