It’s important to know your company’s injury or incident reporting policy, particularly with regards to timing. In a recent case involving US Steel, the DOL and the United Steel Workers Union, it was determined that some of the parameters demanding immediate reporting were unnecessary or should at least be revisited.

The court case regarded two separate incidents. In each incident, neither employee was seriously harmed and didn’t report the incident for several days. As a result, US Steel suspended both employees for fives days without pay. A third employee blew the whistle on US Steel and a court case ensued.

The settlement of the case saw several pertinent factors:

1) The employees were reinstated without penalty and reimbursed for lost pay.

2) The “immediate reporting” policy of US Steel was rescinded and new policies were put into place.

3) DOL agreed not to prosecute US Steel or seek civil penalties or damages against the company.

One of the key takeaways for employees then is to make themselves aware of and observant of their company’s injury reporting policy. Employees may find that their policy differs with or is more stringent than that of OSHA. Failure to know this may result in an employee failing to get the proper care in a timely manner that will allow them to get reimbursed and may actually cause the employee to be penalized or terminated from their job. Know the rules and follow them.