OSHA Proposed Reg on Injury and Illness Records Reporting

OSHA Proposed Reg on Injury and Illness Records Reporting

November 26, 2013

By now many of you have learned about OSHA’s new proposed regulation to require employers subject to the recordkeeping requirements to submit  their records directly to OSHA. The agency will then publish those records online in a searchable database.  While OSHA offers an array of justifications for this new regulation, there is no question that this information will be used by unions and other activists wishing to characterize employers as having bad safety records.  Indeed, this was among the suggestions the AFL-CIO made in their submission to the Obama transition team for what they wanted OSHA to do. Please follow this link to view the complete Federal Register Notice http://www.wpma.org/media/Federal Register Notice.pdf.

Because this regulation will affect so many employers across so many industries and sizes, it is an appropriate regulation on which the Coalition for Workplace Safety should submit comments.  Contact any of the following individuals below with your comments.

Marc Freedman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce,(202) 463-5535, mfreedman@uschamber.com

Joe Trauger, National Association of Manufacturers, (202) 637-3127, JTrauger@nam.org

Amanda Wood, National Association of Manufacturers, (202) 637-3128, Awood@nam.org

Here are some more details about the proposed regulation:

  • Currently employers are required to record work-related injuries but do not have to submit these records to OSHA unless they are solicited as part of an annual survey or OSHA conducts an inspection. They must post these records each year in a conspicuous location so employees have access to them.  The new regulation will not change what injuries and illnesses have to be recorded or how they are recorded, but will create new requirements for employers to submit these records directly to OSHA electronically.
  • Employers with 250 or more employees, who are required to keep records, will have to submit records to OSHA on a quarterly basis.  Employers with 20 or more employees, and who are in certain designated industries, will have to submit their summary records annually.  Certain other employers, who OSHA contacts, will be required to submit more detailed information about specific injuries and illnesses.
  • OSHA will post in a searchable online database company and location specific data on injuries and illnesses, other than employee identification information.
  • OSHA claims this proposed regulation is consistent with, and encouraged by, President Obama’s Open Government Initiative.  This is a gross mischaracterization of the OGI.  The OGI is the Obama administration’s commitment to giving interested parties more access to agency decision and policy making.  It does not speak to, nor does it encourage, releasing sensitive information into the public domain for anyone to use for any purpose.
  • This proposed regulation is mentioned as a goal in the AFL-CIO submission to the Obama transition team.  The document discussing new safety agency policies and actions they wanted to see included: “…the agencies should leverage the impact of their interventions through highly publicized enforcement initiatives and actions and expanded access to information and data on employers’ safety and health performance.”  (Turn Around America: AFL-CIO Recommendations for the Obama Administration, page 2, emphasis added.)