Sources: U.S. Department of Labor; CP staff
Under “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” a final rule effective January 2024, the Labor Department is requiring certain employers in designated high-hazard industries to electronically submit injury and illness information to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Establishments with 100 or more employees in cement, concrete, construction and other industries deemed high-hazard based on reportable incident rates must relay Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report data once a year. The submissions are in addition to Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
OSHA will publish some of the data collected on its website to allow employers, employees, potential employees, employee representatives, current and potential customers, researchers and the general public to use information about a company’s workplace safety and health record to make informed decisions. Agency officials believe that providing public access to the data will ultimately reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.
The Associated Builders & Contractors is among “Improve Tracking” opponents, questioning the rule’s role in advancing OSHA injury and illness reduction goals. “The records at issue are not reliable measures of a company’s safety record or of its efforts to promote a safe work environment, as they provide no context about the injuries or illnesses reported. The final rule will force employers to disclose sensitive information to the public that can easily be manipulated, mischaracterized and misused for reasons wholly unrelated to safety, as well as subject employers to illegitimate attacks and employees to violations of their privacy,” contends ABC Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “For open shop construction contractors, these are not hypothetical concerns. Over the years, high-quality, safety-conscious contractors have been targeted by unions and union-front organizations making false or distorted claims of ‘unsafe’ contracting based on isolated incidents taken out of context.”
“Smaller companies will also be negatively impacted by expanding the mandate to establishments with 100 or more employees,” he adds. “The recorded information can easily be backtracked to identify specific injuries and illnesses, and thereby the medical information of individuals in the workplace, violating their privacy.”
“Congress intended for the Occupational Safety and Health Act to include reporting procedures that would provide the agency and the public with an understanding of the safety and health problems workers face, and this rule is a big step in finally realizing that objective,” argues Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “OSHA will use these data to intervene through strategic outreach and enforcement to reduce worker injuries and illnesses in high-hazard industries. The safety and health community will benefit from the insights this information will provide at the industry level, while workers and employers will be able to make more informed decisions about their workplace’s safety and health.”
The final rule retains current requirements for electronic submission of information from Form 300A from establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-hazard industries and from establishments with 250 or more employees in industries that must routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records. The “Improve Tracking” announcement follows proposed amendments announced in March 2022 to regulations for requiring specific establishments in certain high-hazard industries to electronically submit information from their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Injury and Illness Incident Report.