OSHA Orders Public Posting of Injury Data

Starting this summer, the public will have access to data on workplace injuries in high-hazard injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration yesterday published a rule requiring, starting on Aug. 1, 2016, that companies send the agency information on the number of injuries and illnesses in their workplace. OSHA, in turn, will post this information on its website for everyone to see.

OSHA hopes that the glare of publicity will “nudge” employers to clean up their safety act.

This is an example of the adage of sunlight makes the best disinfectant. Or as OSHA put it in yesterday’s announcement: “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.”

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.

Under the new rule, all establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must 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.

The new requirements take effect Aug. 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 is available on Federal Register at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-10443.pdf.

The rule has been more than two years’ in the making, as I reported.

Here’s OSHA’s announcement of the rule.


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