The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is charged in part with creating and enforcing workplace safety standards in both the public and private sectors. The organization is also tasked with educating workers, training employers and assisting workplaces with solving safety-related challenges. In striving for progress in all of these areas, OSHA has helped to prevent countless work-related injuries and illnesses.
However, the progress that OSHA has made over the last forty years has not eliminated work-related hazards from harming America’s workforce altogether. We write frequently about the ways in which various hazards cause occupational illness, work-related injuries and wrongful death in workplaces across the nation.
In an effort to better identify hazardous patterns that lead to these harmful consequences, OSHA recently issued a rule mandating that federal agencies annually submit any illness and injury data currently required by OSHA to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health recently underscored the purpose of this goal when he noted that “This change provides OSHA an opportunity to collect injury and illness data from all federal agency establishments. The data will us help streamline and improve programs to reduce occupational hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths within the federal workforce."
OSHA hopes that greater analysis of this data will provide valuable insight into the safety hazards continuing to plague federal workers in particular and American workers generally. After analyzing the data to detect problematic patterns, OSHA then plans to create inspection and training protocols that will help enable employers to respond effectively to identifiable hazards.
Source: United States Department of Labor, “OSHA announces changes to recordkeeping rule for federal agencies to improve tracking of federal workplace injuries, illnesses,” Aug. 2, 2013