The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that 3 million workers were injured on the job in 2012.
The public will have 90 days, through Feb. 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule. On Jan. 9, 2014, OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, D.C.
The proposed rule was developed following a series of stakeholder meetings in 2010 to help OSHA gather information about electronic submission of establishment-specific injury and illness data. OSHA is proposing to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers already are required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who already are required to keep records) to electronically submit the records to OSHA quarterly.
OSHA also is proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees in certain industries with high injury and illness rates be required to submit electronically only their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. Currently, many such firms report this information to OSHA under OSHA's Data Initiative.
OSHA plans to eventually post the data online, as encouraged by President Obama's Open Government Initiative. OSHA believes timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will help the agency target its compliance assistance and enforcement resources more effectively by identifying workplaces where workers are at greater risk and enable employers to compare their injury rates with others in the same industry.
Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A.
1211 N Franklin St
Tampa, FL 33602