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OSHA Final Rule Modernizes Illness and Injury Data Collection

Workplace Illnesses and Injuries Continue to Decline - OSHA Final Rule Modernizes Illness and Injury Data Collection

Earlier this year, OSHA issued a final rule to modernize injury data collection and reporting. While OSHA has required many employers to keep a record of workplace injuries and illnesses for the last 45 years, very little of that information has been made public. However, under the new rule—which goes into effect on January 1, 2017—employers in high-hazard industries will be required to send their injury and illness data to OSHA so it can be posted on the agency’s website. Personally identifiable information will, of course, be removed before the data is published online.

As a result of the new rule, workers and the public will be better informed about the more than three million workplace injuries and illnesses that occur each year—further incentivizing employers to improve workplace safety. Job seekers will be able to easily identify workplaces where the risk of injury is lowest. Employers can use the data to benchmark their safety performance and make necessary improvements.

“Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, in a statement. “Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at the greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”

The new reporting rule applies to all establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation as well as establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries including utilities, construction and manufacturing. Reporting requirements will be phased in beginning in 2017.

Additionally, the new rule further promotes an employee’s right to report workplace injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, targeting programs and policies that either directly or inadvertently discourage workers from doing so. Employers must inform employees of their rights and provide a clear and reasonable reporting process. These provisions become effective on August 10, 2016, though OSHA has stated they will not begin enforcing them until November.

For more information on the final rule, visit the OSHA website . And if you need assistance creating a workplace safety program or would like to review the provisions of your current program to ensure they comply with the new final rule, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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