OSHA seeks comments on proposed updates, revisions to the
occupational injury and illness tracking and reporting requirements
WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking an update and revision of two aspects of the agency’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work-related injuries and illnesses.
“These proposed recordkeeping updates will better enable OSHA, employers and workers to identify hazards in high-risk worksites,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “The proposed reporting revisions will enable OSHA to more effectively and efficiently target occupational safety and health hazards, preventing additional injuries and fatalities.”
The new proposed reporting requirements revised OSHA’s current regulation that requires an employer to report to OSHA, within eight hours, all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Under the revised proposal, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related fatalities and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. Reporting amputations is not required under the current regulation.
OSHA is also proposing to update Appendix A of the recordkeeping rule (Part 1904 Subpart B) that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs. These industries received partial exemption because of their relatively low injury and illness rates. The current list of industries is based on the Standard Industrial Classification system. The North American Industry Classification System was introduced in 1997 to replace the SIC system for classifying establishments by industry. When OSHA issued the recordkeeping rule in 2001, the agency used the old SIC code system because injury and illness data were not yet available based on the NAICS. OSHA is also updating Appendix A in response to a 2009 Government Accountability Office report recommending that the agency update the coverage of the relevant recordkeeping requirements from the old SIC system to the newer NAICS.
OSHA is requesting public comments on the proposed revisions, and has included in the proposed rule’s preamble specific questions about issues and potential alternatives. Comments must be submitted by Sept. 20, 2011. See the Federal Register notice for details on how to submit comments. General and technical inquiries should be directed to Jens Svenson, OSHA Office of Statistical Analysis, at 202-693-2400.
To educate employers and employees on the proposed changes, OSHA updated its Recordkeeping Web page to include answers to frequently asked questions regarding the proposed rule. A link to the proposed rule itself also is available on the page.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to assure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
• John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
• Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
• Microshield Environmental Services, LLC