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OSHA to define incentive programs that don't discourage injury reporting

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to publish guidance clarifying which types of employee incentive programs do and do not discourage employees from reporting injuries and illnesses.

David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said during a stakeholder call on Wednesday that the agency will publish a compliance directive that describes which types of incentive programs the agency wants to encourage and which types it has evidence discourage workers from reporting injuries and illnesses.

He did not specify a publication date, but said the directive would be released before OSHA's final electronic record-keeping rule takes effective on Jan. 1, 2017.

“There are terrific incentive programs out there,” he said. “We've seen lots of programs that incentivize safety. There are lots of ways to do that. You can provide bonuses and prizes for hazard identification or incident investigation or training. I've seen employers over the last few years really understand that simply providing financial or material incentives to a group, especially for low injury rates or no injuries, is counterproductive.”