OSHA Issues Final Rule |on Injury Data Collection

     (CN) – The Occupational Safety and Health administration on Wednesday issued a final rule it says will “modernize” injury data collection and better inform both employers and their workers about workplace hazards.
     The new requirements published in the Federal Register take effect August 10, 2016
     The Labor Department says that in drafting the rule, OSHA applied behavioral economics insights to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses.
     OSHA requires many employers to keep a record of injuries and illnesses to help these employers and their employees identify hazards, fix problems and prevent additional injuries and illnesses.
     The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA. 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 Labor Department says the availability of these data will 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.
     Access to these data will also enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders, to improve their own safety programs, the department says.
     
     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 department said..
     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.

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