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Kyle Morrison's blog

A blog by Safety+Health Senior Associate Editor Kyle W. Morrison


kyle.morrison@nsc.org


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Little change, big change

November 11, 2013

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Big news: OSHA last week proposed a new rule that will change much, and yet it changes very little.

The proposed rule would require employers with more than 250 employees to electronically submit injury and illness reports to OSHA on a quarterly basis, and OSHA would make that data publicly available. That’s what is changing.

What’s not changing is a pre-existing requirement for employers with more than 250 employees to collect this injury and illness data.

“The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA,” agency administrator David Michaels said in a press release about the proposed rule.

It’s a simple change, but one that could have profound consequences. Public access to more data could mean everyone – employers and employees, government agencies, and researchers – will have a better picture of the injuries occurring throughout the country. With that knowledge, resources and prevention programs can be better focused to the hazards causing the injuries, with the intention of leading to a reduction in workplace injuries.

The rule has a 90-day comment period that runs through Feb. 6, and a Jan. 9 public meeting is scheduled for Washington. I’m curious to learn what stakeholders have to say, and if anyone out there is worried what burdens this rule might have that the agency isn’t addressing.

Is it more than just a small, simple change? Should OSHA be the one to collect this data? What do you think the benefits will be? Let me know in the comments.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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