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OSHA contemplates worker injury reporting reform

Record-keeping and submission may not be terribly interesting tasks. However, ensuring that records are accurately created, properly analyzed and stored safely is critically important work. When it comes to work-related injuries and illnesses, the compilation and analysis of work safety records can mean the difference between proper dissemination of safety-related resources and inadequate safety precautions. As a result, it is vitally important that employers submit safety-related data properly and that this data is handled with care after submission.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uses safety-related record keeping to guide its mission of helping to ensure safety in American workplaces. Each employer’s data helps OSHA to determine where work-related hazards exist, what regulations need to be reformed and how to best disperse safety-related resources to American industry.

Because this data is so critical to every aspect of OSHA’s mission, the agency is currently contemplating ways to better ensure that it receives accurate and detailed data from employers nationwide. In particular, OSHA will soon be questioning whether or not to require employers who oversee as few as 50 employees enterprise-wide to submit work-related illness and injury data to the agency on a regular basis. Currently, only site-specific establishments are required to submit such data.

Given how important this kind of data collection is to OSHA’s efforts, hopefully the agency will ultimately pass whatever reforms are necessary to ensure that as many employee experiences with illness or injury on the job are chronicled as possible. The beginning of a new year symbolizes time for change and data collection reform may be the change that OSHA needs in order to better serve America’s working population in 2014.

Source: Bloomberg BNA, “New OSHA Recordkeeping Proposal Includes Corporate-Wide Injury Reporting,” Bruce Rolfson, Dec. 19, 2013

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