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New rule for workplace injuries

Denver construction sites are where heavy materials such as steel beams and rebar are moved by powerful pieces of equipment. Unfortunately, worksite accidents can happen suddenly and without warning. A piece of machinery can crush a limb or materials can fall and badly hurt a worker.

Some of the worst construction injuries are amputations. These are devastating losses, both physically and emotionally, often leaving a skilled construction worker unable to continue in their chosen field. An amputation can also require multiple surgeries in order to address all the medical issues that arise from these severe wounds.

Many Colorado construction workers and others employed in dangerous occupations will undoubtedly hail today’s decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require all employers to report to the federal agency all injuries that result in employee hospitalization, amputation or the loss of an eye in an on-the-job incident.

While employers might complain about the new regulation, OSHA says the new reporting requirement will wind up preventing “future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards: ones that have already caused injuries to occur.”

The new rules take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Predictably, the Chamber of Commerce, representing business owners, has already issued a complaint that the new rule will simply generate injury information that OSHA is not “going to have any real use for.”

Our concern here is not with those gripes, however, but with seeing workers and their families protected when workplace accidents occur and wage-earners can’t earn a living. For some who are injured, it might take only days or weeks to recover. For others, recovery can mean months, years or the rest of their lives.

Experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help injured workers appeal denial of needed benefits.     

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Under New Federal Rules, Employers Will Have to Report All Amputations,” Josh Eidelson, Sept. 12, 2014

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