OSHA May Want Your Injury and Illness Data Submitted Electronically Every Quarter

OSHA unveiled a new proposal today that would mean big changes to the way it collects injury and illness data from employers as part of its Recordkeeping regulations.

According to OSHA’s News Release, one of the biggest changes would be the requirement that “establishments with more than 250 employees (and who are already required to keep records) to electronically submit the records on a quarterly basis to OSHA.”

For establishments with 20 or more employees, in the most hazardous industries, the requirement would be to electronically submit their summary of work-related injuries on an annual basis. According to the release, the data would eventually be posted online.

OSHA believes access to better data in a more timely fashion will help the agency “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.”

OSHA says the changes would “provide establishment-specific injury and illness data for analyses that are not currently possible with the data sets from inspections.” Helping it to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the lowest injury/illness rates for establishments in a particular high-hazard industry?
  2. What are the long-term changes over time in injuries and illnesses in a particular industry?
  3. What is the effect of an OSHA intervention program targeted at a particular industry or particular industry-related hazard on in juries/illnesses in that industry?
  4. What are the injury/illness outcomes of an OSHA intervention, as determined by a case-control study?
  5. What are the common hazards in low-rate establishments compared to high-rate establishments in a particular industry?
  6. How do injuries and illnesses in a particular industry vary by season?
  7. How do injuries and illnesses in a particular industry vary by geographical location of the establishment?

According to the proposal , the Recordkeeping Rule covers 750,000 employers with 1.5 million establishments. It expects the costs to establishments to be minimal, costing all together less than $12 million annually. The proposed rule can be read in its entirety here: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html 

OSHA states in its news release that stakeholders have 90 days to comment on the proposal, until Feb. 6, 2014. In addition, a meeting is scheduled to discuss the proposal on Jan. 9, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

If you have responsibilities under the Recordkeeping Rule and are looking for a smart way to track injuries and illnesses, we encourage you to check out MSDSonline’s OSHA Recordkeeping / Incident Management Solution.