In a recent memo sent to OSHA regional administrators and whistleblower program managers, Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax gives a general warning to businesses against tying management or supervisory bonuses to lower reported injury rates. The memo also clarifies four areas where businesses often have policies and practices that discourage reporting and could constitute unlawful discrimination against employees for reporting injuries.
Make sure that your company policy does not include any of these practices or policies.
1. Policies that take disciplinary action against employees who are injured on the job, regardless of circumstance.
2. Policies or practices that discipline employees who report an injury or illness, and the stated reason is that the employee has violated an employer rule about the time or manner for reporting injuries and illnesses. This section also applies where the employer’s reporting requirements are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, or enforced with unjustifiably harsh sanctions.
3. Policies that discipline an employee for reporting an injury, on the grounds that the injury resulted from the employee violating a company safety rule. An indication that a policy is unlawful is if the employer does not monitor for compliance with the work rule in the absence of an injury.
4. Programs that unintentionally or intentionally provide employees an incentive to not report injuries. For example, an employer might enter all employees who have not been injured in the previous year in a drawing to win a prize, or a team of employees might be awarded a bonus if no one from the team is injured over some period of time.
The full memo is posted by OSHA at this link.