The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a new rule to improve the monitoring of incidences of workplace injuries and illnesses across American workplaces, according to an OSHA news release published last November. The announcement came on the heels of the Bureau of Labor Statistics release of its 2013 Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which revealed that the worker injury toll last year had reached 3 million.

According to OSHA Assistant Labor Secretary Dr. David Michaels the proposed rulemaking will improve stakeholders’ and employees’ access to data that will help them create and implement new programs that will improve their emergency response and preventive measures against workplace hazards. Michaels noted that the proposed new rule basically imposes on employer’s responsibilities in transmitting records of the incidences to OSHA, and does not modify record requirements per se.

What exactly are the provisions of the proposed rule? Here’s a summary based on OSHA’s news release:

  • The electronic transmission of summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA on a quarterly basis for employers with over 250 workers, in pursuance of Part 1904 of existing standards. The report submission should be done annually for workplaces with 20 workers.
  • The availability of such reports will be augmented with the timely posting of the reports online, in accordance to President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, which aims to establish a participatory and transparent government-and-public relationship.
  • Streamlining the monitoring process by categorizing injury and illness reports based on establishments, high risk workplaces, and industry injury rates.

As with most proposed rulemaking, the public can comment on the proposal for 90 days (until February 6, 2014).

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established OSHA to ensure workers’ rights to safe and healthful workplace. Visit OSHA.gov or stay tuned for more of our blog posts for more OSHA news and updates.

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