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OSHA Issues Final Rule on Electronic Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Release Date: May 17, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to modernize injury data collection to better inform workers, employers, the public, and OSHA about workplace hazards. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is available. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect for posting on the agency's website.

The new rule requires all establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation to electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only. A list of these industries can be accessed at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/NAICScodesforelectronicsubmission.pdf.

Using data collected under the new rule, OSHA will create the largest publicly available dataset on work injuries and illnesses, enabling researchers to better study injury causation, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread, and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities. OSHA will remove all personally identifiable information associated with the data before it is publicly accessible.

Just as public disclosure of their kitchens' sanitary conditions encourages restaurant owners to improve food safety, OSHA expects that public disclosure of work injury data will encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. "Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers, and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."

Access to the data will enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders. OSHA believes that the availability of the data will also enable prospective employees to identify workplaces where their risk of injury is lowest; as a result, employers competing to hire the best workers will make injury prevention a higher priority.

To ensure that the injury data on OSHA logs are accurate and complete, the final rule also promotes an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting. This aspect of the rule targets employer programs and policies that, while nominally promoting safety, have the effect of discouraging workers from reporting injuries and, in turn leading to incomplete or inaccurate records of workplace hazards.

The new requirements take effect August 10, 2016, with phased-in data submissions beginning in 2017. These requirements do not add to or change an employer's obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records under the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation.

The final rule can be accessed at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-10443.pdf. Additional guidance information can be obtained from OSHA’s resource webpage on the final rule at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html.

COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.

The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.


COPYRIGHT ©2016, ISO Services, Inc.
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