Big retail chains—like Wal-Mart, Target, and McDonald’s—are fighting efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require them to report workplace injuries and illnesses so that a national database can be created. Currently, OSHA only has such a database for workers in manufacturing. Big retailers not wanting to be held accountable for worker injuries on the job do not want this information made public.
How a National Database of Employee Injuries Could Help Workers
Companies like Wal-Mart and Target are spending millions to lobby against OSHA’s proposed rule. They argue that it would require them to disclose confidential information, to pay for non-work-related injuries, and be too costly. Highlights of the rule, if implemented, include:
- The rule would apply to employers with more than 250 employees and smaller companies in high hazard industries, such as freight trucking, construction, and waste disposal.
- Employers would be required to disclose the employee’s job title, the type of injury, where it occurred, what the employee was doing before the accident, and the number of days the employee had to take off work.
- The information to be disclosed is information employers already collect internally—usually in online records.
This database could be used by employees, the government, and researchers to identify companies with safety issues. Employees could also find this information helpful if they need to fight to obtain compensation from their employer for workplace injuries. Workers at big chain companies like Wal-Mart, Target, McDonald’s, Lowe’s, and Home Depot already must sue under negligence rather than receiving workers’ compensation as these employers are non-subscriber employers who have opted out of workers’ compensation. This data could help them get the compensation they deserve when they suffer injuries on the job.
Have you suffered a workplace injury at one of these big chain employers? Share your experiences in the comments.