After a 14-month audit of Occupational Safety & Health Administration workplace injury and illness data collection and reporting methods, the Government
After a 14-month audit of Occupational Safety & Health Administration workplace injury and illness data collection and reporting methods, the Government Accountability Office recommends the agency 1) require inspectors to interview workers during records audits to obtain injury or illness information and substitute other workers when those initially selected for interviews are not available; 2) minimize the window between the date employers record injuries and illnesses and are audited; 3) update the list of high hazard industries used to select worksites for records audits and target inspections, outreach, and technical assistance; and, 4) increase education and training to help employers determine which injuries and illnesses should be recorded under the recordkeeping standards.
GAO findings are summarized in Workplace Safety and Health – Enhancing OSHA’s Records Audit Process Could Improve the Accuracy of Worker Injury and Illness Data. The agency effected the OSHA audit at the request of workplace regulation proponents Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman; and, Rep. George Miller (D-CA, 7th District), House Education and Labor Committee chairman. The OSHA audit progressed as the Employee Free Choice Act legislation they are co-sponsoring languishes in the House and Senate.
The report follows OSHA’s early-October initiating of a national emphasis program on recordkeeping to assess the correctness of employer data on workplace injury and illness. In the directive establishing the NEP, the agency identified concrete pipe manufacturing as one of about 20 high incidence rate industries likely to be under-recording injuries and illnesses.