On November 7th, 2013 OSHA issued a proposed rule that would change the way injuries and illnesses are reported. They proposed making a change to current record keeping regulations by adding a requirement that employers electronically submit the injury and illness information they are already required to keep. OSHA hopes that the electronic submission of this information will produce timely data and will help them effectively identify hazardous workplaces. This data will also be eventually posted online allowing employers to compare data with other establishments in their industry.
The news release put out by OSHA states that under this proposed rule companies with more than 250 employees would be required to electronically submit reports (they are already keeping) on a quarterly basis. Also, companies in certain industries that tend to have a higher risk of injuries and illnesses and have more than 20 employees would be required to submit to OSHA once a year.
According to the news release Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michael had this to say about the newly proposed rule: “With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”
I think that this newly proposed rule makes a lot of sense. Many other forms and industries are beginning to rely on electronic means to do business. It seems as though this would be helpful not only to OSHA but to employers as well. Additional information on the proposed rule can be found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24002 and http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html. The public will have until Feb. 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. The agency also plans to hold a Jan. 9, 2014, public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, DC.
Lawder, Jessie. “OSHA Announces Proposed New Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” www.osha.gov. November 7, 2013. December 4, 2013