Even though OSHA withdrew its proposed ergonomic recordkeeping rule from review by the Office of Management and Budget four months ago, work on the proposal hasn’t completely stopped.
The agency proposed putting a check-box column on its OSHA 300 injury logs that employers would have to mark if an employee’s injury was a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
In January, OSHA said it was withdrawing the proposal “to seek greater input from small businesses on the impact of the proposal.”
The agency has been doing just that. On April 11 and 12, it held two teleconferences with 16 selected small businesses to gather their input.
Here is part of what the employers told OSHA:
- Activities outside of work can cause MSDs, and some employers thought that would complicate the task of determining whether ergonomic injuries were work-related.
- Most of the employers relied heavily on their workers’ compensation process to identify work-relatedness.
- There was a sharp split among participants on how adding the check-box column would change the injury-reporting process. Some said it was nothing more than checking a box. Others said it would require more thorough investigations.
- Participants thought the proposal would benefit OSHA and industry as a whole. However, some thought it would provide little or no benefit to individual small businesses and that it wouldn’t help them reduce injuries.
- Some employers mentioned cases they experienced in which an MSD that was originally identified as work-related was later found to be fraudulent.
- Some companies thought this would raise workers’ comp insurance premiums.
- A few companies were skeptical about OSHA’s intentions regarding the information collected. Others said, while this would not be a huge burden, the cumulative effect of all federal regulations was too high.
(For a summary of these conversations, click here.)
Now, OSHA wants others to comment on what these small businesses said. This comment period will be open until June 16, 2011.
Do you agree with what the 16 small businesses had to say about the ergonomic check-box proposal? Let us know in the Comments Box below.