In the United States, employers are bound by certain legal requirements to provide safe workplaces for their employees. Many of these regulations are enumerated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, which established strict standards on workplace safety that apply to most workers. Furthermore, most employers also have to offer workers’ compensation in case employees get hurt on the job. However, though OSHA and workers’ compensation might look a lot alike, they are not the same things. Here are some of their difference.
1. OSHA is a Set of Rules
The OSHA law establishes a set of standards to require employers to provide both safe and healthy workplaces. It instructs employers that they must follow certain standards to protect employers while they are on the job. Most private sector employers must follow these rules. Otherwise, should an employee get hurt on the job, they could report the business for a violation of the law. This could lead to various penalties.
2. Workers’ Compensation Comes After Injuries
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance, established to help an employee following an injury or illness sustained on the job. Most employers, in most industries, must carry coverage. Though requirements for coverage vary by state, if an employer does not carry workers’ compensation, then the employee might have the right to sue the business for compensation.
For example, suppose that one of your employees gets hurt because of a sudden malfunction of a piece of machinery. Or, they might have experienced years of exposure to a particular toxic substance, or damaging repetitive injury. Cases like these could qualify your employee for a workers’ compensation insurance claim.
With the claim on a workers’ compensation policy, the employee can receive an income supplement that can help them pay their medical bills and everyday costs following at-work injuries. The employee can receive these benefits for an extended time, even potentially after they return to work (depending on the circumstances). Injured employees must follow certain rules to successfully file for a claim.
3. When Regulations Overlap
It is when these injuries occur that OSHA rules and workers’ comp might overlap. As an employer, you might have to provide the workers’ compensation insurance information to employees. Furthermore, you might have to report the injury under OSHA regulations to the appropriate authorities.
The injury in question will have to meet certain requirements to fall under the reporting requirement, but the general rule is that severe injuries must occur. OSHA’s administrative team might then have to investigate the premises to help you create a safer workplace. Therefore, while an injury might qualify for workers’ compensation, it might not qualify for an OSHA report. The same is true vice versa.