OSHA Issues A Final Rule On Tracking Workplace Injuries & Illnesses
“Starting January 1, 2017, employers must electronically submit workplace injuries and illnesses”
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued a final rule revising its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. 29 C.F.R. §§ 1902, 1904 (2016). Starting January 1, 2017, employers must electronically submit workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers are already required to record this information on their onsite OSHA Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Forms; however, this new system allows OSHA to post the submission data on a publicly accessible website. The new system will “’nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to Investors, job seekers, customers and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.” Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
The final rule updates an employer’s obligation to inform its workers of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be “reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting.” 29 C.F.R. §§ 1902, 1904 (2016). The main purpose of the electronic data collection is to better identify and mitigate workplace hazards and thereby provide safe and healthy working conditions to employees.
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