NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced a proposed rule that would require employers to electronically submit to OSHA records of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA would then post the records online and make them available to the public. Under current OSHA regulations, employers are only required to post summaries of injury and illness reports in workplace common areas.
The proposed rule would only apply to employers with more than 250 employees. Those employers would be required to submit their reports electronically to OSHA on a quarterly basis.
OSHA, along with other proponents of the proposed rule, believe that it will give employers, the government, and researchers better access to data that will “encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.” Opponents of the proposed rule, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, believe that requiring employers to make public their workplace safety reports would be misleading (as the reporting of the injury alone may not tell the full story regarding the circumstances surrounding the injury) or would be subject to misuse by outside groups who want to characterize certain employers as providing unsafe working conditions.
OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The general public will have until February 6, 2014, to submit written comments to the proposed rule.
A copy of OSHA’s announcement of the proposed rule can be found here.