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Attorneys general back OSHA’s proposed recordkeeping changes

Photo: OSHA

Trenton, NJ — A coalition of state attorneys general has written a letter supporting OSHA’s proposed changes to the agency’s injury and illness recordkeeping rules.

In the letter, sent June 27 to Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and OSHA administrator Doug Parker, attorneys general for 17 states describe the proposal as “a significant improvement” on current reporting requirements.

The proposed rule, published in the March 30 Federal Register, would require establishments with 100 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries to submit injury and illness data from Forms 300A, 300 and 301 each year. Establishments with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would have to submit data only from Form 300A.

The agency currently requires electronic submissions only of Form 300A – a yearly summary of injury and illnesses data – for establishments with 250 or more employees and those with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries. A list of those industries is available in Appendix A of 1904.41.

“Requiring the submission of certain data from Forms 300 and 301, in addition to the summary Form 300A, will provide the public with injury-specific data that is critical for helping workers, employers, regulators, researchers, and consumers understand and prevent occupational injuries and illnesses,” the attorneys general write.

They contend that “interested parties” can learn only three things from Form 300A:

  • The total number of injuries or illnesses that resulted in death, days away from work, and/or job transfer.
  • The total number of workdays missed or restricted.
  • The total number of injuries or illnesses, broken into six broad categories: injuries, skin disorders, respiratory conditions, poisoning, hearing loss or “other.”

“There is no way to zoom in on an injury or illness to learn more about what happened or why,” they write, adding that Forms 300 and 301 “paint a far more detailed picture of the nature and severity of workplace safety incidents and risks.”

The coalition provides examples of what state agencies could do with the more detailed data.

“Workers in New Jersey and across the nation have a right to do their jobs in the safest possible conditions, and the public has a right to know what workplace hazards exist within our industries,” New Jersey acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in a June 27 press release. “The proposed OSHA rule promotes both goals, and we are proud to lead the effort to support it.

“Requiring employers to provide more detailed reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses will help New Jersey and other states better target our enforcement, awareness and prevention efforts.”

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