OSHA’s Taking a Closer Look at Injury Records

Recent accusations that companies are underreporting workplace injuries, have captured the attention of OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While neither agency has come across such cases, the claims have given them reason to place more scrutiny on the accuracy of recordkeeping logs and records.

According to Richard Fairfax, director of OSHA's enforcement division, the agency has begun developing a new national enforcement program. OSHA has not yet designated a new administrator but when they do, if that person agrees to this program, it would likely become effective within six months.

On March 11, President Barack Obama signed a $410 billion appropriations bill, better known as Obama's budget blueprint, which increased funding for a number of government agencies.  This appropriations package includes an additional $27 million for OSHA, which according to the blueprint is slated for "improving the speed and efficiency at which the agency enforces and writes new safety standards, with a focus being placed on the enforcement of its occupational injury and illness Recordkeeping Rule."

The 2010 budget proposal also gives the Department of Labor (DOL) $13.3 billion, an increase from the $12.7 billion allocated for 2009. A portion of that funding will go to OSHA enabling the agency "to vigorously enforce workplace safety laws and whistleblower protections, and ensure the safety and health of American workers."

Whether or not OSHA will actually beef up its enforcement policy remains to be seen. Still, with the heightened attention being given to workplace safety, now is a great time to review your recordkeeping procedures.

To that end, many of our clients tell us they're looking for ways to automate their incident recording and reporting processes.

Emerging software- and web-based electronic recordkeeping systems are now readily available, which can provide significant time- and cost-saving benefits and will go along way to help with recordkeeping accuracy.

But, in our opinion, the real benefit is gaining a more immediate and global view into where your high-risk areas are and how well your safety initiatives are working.

Having all of the data for your cases (recordable, non-recordable, near misses, etc.) contained digitally in one centralized location enables you to share data, run trend analytics, and generate reports so you can better push your safety efforts across your organization, implement corrective-action measures and prevent accidents from reoccurring.

Click here for an article detailing the benefits of electronic recordkeeping.