Safety and OSHA News

Is reg to put companies’ injury data online about to become reality?

A regulation to revise how companies report injury data to OSHA is one step closer to reality. The rule would also make companies’ injury data available online to the public. 

OSHA’s “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” draft final rule arrived at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Oct. 5. The proposal was unveiled two years ago.

OIRA is supposed to review proposed government regulations within 90 days of receiving them. However, particularly in recent years, OIRA has been known to hold proposed regs much longer.

The National Law Review says this means “OSHA anticipates publication of this final rule very soon.” It could go into effect as soon as January 2016, according to the publication.

While that’s possible, there’s no guarantee this will be the actual timeline.

But even if the reg doesn’t go into effect in January, sending it to OIRA makes it likely it will become an OSHA reg before the end of 2016.

The proposed rule would add three new electronic reporting requirements for companies:

  1. Establishments that are already required to keep injury and illness records and had 250 or more employees in the previous calendar year will have to electronically submit information from these records to OSHA on a quarterly basis.
  2. Establishments that are already required to keep injury and illness records and had 20 or more employees in the previous calendar year, and are in certain designated industries, will have to electronically submit the information from the OSHA annual summary Form 300A to OSHA, and
  3. All employers who receive notification from OSHA will have to electronically submit specified information from their injury and illness records to OSHA.

OSHA intends to make the data it collects public on a website. The publication of some specifics will be restricted by federal law.

OSHA may make the following data from the various forms available in a searchable on-line database:

  • All data fields from the OSHA Form 300A (Summary form)
  • All data fields from the OSHA Form 300 (Log) except the employee’s name
  • The data fields on the right side of the OSHA Form 301 (Incident report), i.e., case number, date of injury or illness, time employee began work, time of event, what the employee was doing just before the incident occurred, what happened, what the injury or illness was, what object or substance directly harmed the employee, and the date of death if applicable.

Some business groups have opposed the measure. The National Association of Manufacturers says, “Without proper context, the raw data may result in unfair conclusions or judgments about a company or particular industry based on information that is not indicative of the actual safety record.”

OSHA has posted a mock-up of what the data entry website could look like on its website.

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Comments

  1. John Joly says:

    Speaking as a Board Member of the Divers Association, I urge OSHA to consider isolating Commercial Dive Operations from all other industries. The data gets skewed with commingled reports from other types of work.

  2. There is a trend right now that a lot of emphasis is put on the TRIR of companies without any deeper investigation behind the numbers.
    A couple of examples of incidents I witnessed first hand.
    1. A company took over a maintenance contract at a facility, rolled over the employees, and on the first day under that company’s management a tool malfunctioned which ended with an injury to a craftworker. Due to the man hours worked at that relatively small facility they ended up with the highest Recordable Incident rate out of our entire company even with no other injuries that year.
    2. Following a fatality at a jobsite the investigation found that the on-site management had failed with training and record keeping. The site and safety managers were fired or resigned and almost immediately went to work at a competitor, who then used their connections within that facility to take over the contract.
    When people just look at numbers without digging deeper then it only encourages managers and their companies to hide injuries and incidents to no ones benefit, but it looks good on paper.

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