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OSHA reports on first year of new reporting requirements

The state of Minnesota has adopted federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements for reporting hospitalizations and amputations with the difference that such injuries are reported at a state rather than a federal level. OSHA instituted the requirements in hopes that they would result in employers taking more steps to make their workplaces safer. While old regulations might result in OSHA making a site visit, the new reporting requirements mean employers are looking more closely at their safety processes and how accidents can be prevented. On a federal level, OSHA says many employers are complying and are going beyond OSHA's own guidelines for workplace safety.

In 2015, in federal OSHA states, there were reports of more than 7,600 people hospitalized and over 2,600 amputations. The majority of amputations occurred in the construction and manufacturing industries. Hospitalizations were most common for workers in manufacturing, construction, warehousing and transportation. However, OSHA says that it believes up to half of all employers are not reporting serious injuries. According to the agency, most of the accidents reported were preventable.

The new guidelines focus more on having an employer fix a problem rather than facing OSHA sanctions. The agency reports that the new process has also freed up OSHA resources since they are no longer required to make as many site inspections.

Workplace injuries can be devastating from both a financial and health point of view. As medical expenses mount, a person may also be unable to work. Workers' compensation is designed to protect a person from these hardships although some employees may not realize they are eligible. An attorney may be able to assist a person with paperwork as well as with appeals if the claim is denied. Furthermore, if an employer attempts to retaliate against a worker for filing for workers' compensation, an attorney may be able to provide advice.

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