OSHA to hear more on electronic injury, illness records submission

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA has extended to October 14 the comment period on a proposed rule for tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. A proposal published in November 2013 would add to the agency’s record-keeping regulation requirements for the electronic submission of information that employers are already required to keep.

Participants in a public meeting expressed concern that the proposal a) may create motivation for employers to under-record injuries and illnesses, since each covered establishment’s injury and illness data would become publicly available on OSHA’s website; and, b) would lead to an increase in the number of employers who adopt practices that discourage employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses. OSHA is concerned that the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers adopt such practices.

“OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

OSHA is therefore soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to: 1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; 2) more clearly communicate the requirement that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and, 3) provide OSHA an additional remedy to prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses. Individuals interested in submitting comments may do so electronically at www.regulations.gov, the federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

Related article:OSHA looks to rewrite illness, injury data submission rules for employers large and small