WASHINGTON – The American Meat Institute strongly opposed a proposal that would require electronic submission of injury and illness information among other requirements.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking comments on a proposal that would require businesses with 250 or more employees to submit quarterly reports while businesses with 20 or more employees would have to submit annual reports. OSHA also is considering a requirement for additional information about specific injuries and illnesses. Finally, providing public access to injury and illness information is also under consideration.

AMI said OSHA's proposal would create unnecessary work and costs and not improve workplace safety and health.

"More frequent submission of data will do nothing to enhance workplace safety and health," AMI said in comments filed recently. "Operations personnel in manufacturing facilities are well aware of injury and illness incidents on an ongoing basis and areas or jobs where such incidents occur are targeted for safety review and improvement."

AMI added that providing public access to the data would create privacy problems and that OSHA failed to consider the implications of making such information public.

"Public disclosure of the data not only provides competitors with confidential business information, but it also jeopardizes security, putting workers and the public in danger," AMI noted. "For example, OSHA intends on publishing the addresses of certain businesses that produce, store or maintain highly sensitive, hazardous or valuable products or commodities. Depending on the nature of the business, publicizing locations and number of employees could leave a business vulnerable to criminals or worse."