OSHA Proposes Requirements for Employers to File Workplace Injury and Illness Information Online

On Nov. 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a new rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses by transitioning to an online system for employers to submit such information. 

Currently, employers are required to submit information on work-related injuries and illnesses to the OSHA. The proposal seeks to amend OSHA's existing recordkeeping rule by requiring that this information be submitted electronically. Under the proposal, establishments with more than 250 employees must submit their records online every quarter. Establishments that operate in an industry with high injury and illness rates and employ 20 or more people would be required to electronically submit an annual summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA. The rule covers a total of approximately 478,957 establishments (employing at least 18 million workers) out of the 7.5 million establishments within OSHA’s jurisdiction.

According to OSHA’s news release announcing the proposal, “Timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will help OSHA target its compliance assistance and enforcement resources more effectively by identifying workplaces where workers are at greater risk, and enable employers to compare their injury rates with others in the same industry.” The initiative is expected to reduce the number of workplace injuries and illnesses occurring each year, which exceeded 3.8 million in 2011.

In line with President Obama’s Open Government Initiative, OSHA plans to make the data submitted by employers available online, although the agency has yet to set a date. Online access to this data would encourage employers to improve preventative programs and move more quickly to abate hazards present in the workplace.

Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted online at Regulations.gov until March 8, 2014.

Editor's Note (01/27/2014): This article has been updated since its original publication date.

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