OSHA Gives 60 More Days for Public Comment on Workplace Injury, Illness Reporting Rule

The public will have an additional 60 days to comment on a proposed rule requiring employers to file electronic reports on workplace injuries and illnesses, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced today.

In a sign of the controversy that the proposal has whipped up, the agency said it wants more comment on  whether to amend the proposed rule to (1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; (2) require that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and (3) prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses

The agency said that during a January meeting it held on the proposed rule, stakeholders expressed concern that the  “increased visibility of establishment injury and illness data under the proposal would lead to an increase in the number of employers who adopt practices that have the effect of discouraging employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses.” Under the proposal, each covered establishment’s injury and illness data would become publicly available on OSHA’s Web site.

OSHA said it is concerned that “the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers adopt these practices.”

To recap, OSHA is proposing to:

  • amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the  electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already  required to keep under existing standards, Part 1904. The first proposed new  requirement is for establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA; and
  • require establishments with 20 or more  employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates 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.

Here’s the Federal Register announcement of the comment period extension and the questions that OSHA would like further comment on.

OSHA held a public hearing on the proposed rule back in January and had previously extended the comment period through March.

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