Human resources expert weighs in on employers’ OSHA responsibilities for WFH employees
With coronavirus cases spiking across the country, many employers have slowed down or stopped their plans to have employees return to the office. As millions of Americans are now working from home, it’s important for employers to consider their OSHA responsibilities for telecommuting workers.
“Telecommuting injuries are still a bit of a gray area, but you may be held responsible for injuries your employees incur at home if they are performing company duties at the time of the injury, or if they can otherwise prove that their work led to their injury,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, an employment solutions firm with locations across the country.
Wilson says that OSHA used to take a firmer stance on work-at-home accidents and injuries, but in recent years they have revised their policies to say that an employer is not liable for the condition of an employee’s home office. However, Wilson notes that there have been cases where employers have been responsible for injuries that occurred while an employee was engaged in company business at home.
H.R. expert explains the growing number of OSHA inspections & why many employers aren’t prepared
On the heels of a frightening bridge crash in Miami, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta recently said that he “fully expects” OSHA inspections to increase once new inspectors are trained. Acosta’s remarks are in line with the significant increase in enforcement actions employers have seen in the past two fiscal years.
“The DOL’s enforcement actions across the vast majority of its offices and agencies have increased in the past two fiscal years,” says human resources expert Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, a national employment-solutions firm with locations across the country.
OSHA inspections exceeded 32,000 in both 2017 and 2018, compared to 31,948 inspections in 2016. And, increased inspections could be the reason why workplaces have seen decreased accidents, with 40,000 less workplace incidents and 43 less fatalities when comparing 2016 and 2017 numbers.
What does increased action by OSHA mean for employers?
Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, recently joined Jim Wurm of the EACA (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association) for a webinar on “Controlling Workers’ Comp Costs.”
Check out the recorded webcast to learn “how to control your insurance costs and potentially save money through features like: Workers’ Compensation cost reduction through a bulk buying approach, direct access to a best-in-class experience MOD, paying premiums on a per-payroll basis to free up cash flow, and developing a safety and loss control program.”
H.R. expert reveals post-accident best practices
On average, more than 99 people are injured at work each day. But the good news is that American workplaces are getting safer in recent years, with annual workplace deaths falling from 14,000 to 5,000 in the last 40 years.
However, injuries are still a common occurrence and one that employers need to be prepared for. Most importantly, employers need to have a list of best practices that they follow in the event of an employee injury, particularly in those moments right after an accident occurs.
At national employment-solutions firm Employco, clients and their employees have access to a telephonic triage system where an injured party can call and speak to a nurse right away. The nurse can help them figure out what to do next, such as whether they need to go to an emergency room or urgent care and in the meantime the company’s H.R. outsourcing team at Employco will receive news of this accident within minutes.
“There is nothing worse than a late-reported claim,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA. “You want to know the who, what, when, where of the incident, but you also want to know how to most quickly provide care and treatment for the injured employee.”
Wilson says time is of the essence when it comes to collecting recorded statements.
Rob, Scott, and Jason discuss post-accident best practices for workplace injuries; from taking quick action and conducting an investigation to telephonic triage, fraud, surveillance, OSHA, working to prevent future accidents, and more.
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Effective August 10, 2016, some employers – particularly those in high-hazard industries – will be required to submit electronic forms providing details on workplace injuries for publication on OSHA’s website. Additionally, OSHA released new guidelines regarding post-incident drug testing requirements, hoping to increase injury reporting by lowering employees’ fear of retaliation.
Coincidentally, Travelers recently released data compiling the top 5 workplace injuries over the last 5 years. Those injuries include:
- Strains and Sprains (30%)
- Cuts or punctures (19%)
- Contusions (12%)
- Inflammation (5%)
- Fractures (5%)
Approximately 32% of the top injuries are caused by material handling, such as lifting or carrying, and 16% are caused by slips, trips, or falls. Knowing the top injuries, as well as the causes, can help organizations better train employees on how to avoid injuries. For assistance with training or OSHA compliance, please contact Employco.