OSHA issues final rule on work injury, illness reporting
May 16, 2016
by Erica Shaffer
WASHINGTON – Some might call it “name and shame;” OSHA calls it a nudge. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently finalized new federal requirements that will make injury and illness data on high-hazard industries — industries with historically high rates of occupational injury and illness — more accessible to the public.
Starting in August, injury and illness data that employers already are required to collect will be sent to OSHA for posting on the agency’s website. OSHA said the new requirements apply behavioral economics to improve workplace safety.
“Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a statement. “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities.
“Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”
And to ensure that injury data submitted to OSHA are accurate and complete, the final rule empowers employees to report injuries or illnesses without fear of retaliation. An employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting injuries and illnesses that doesn’t discourage employees from reporting.
OSHA said the agency intends to create the largest publicly available data set on work-related injuries and illnesses “enabling researchers to better study injury causation, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities,” the agency said. Personally identifiable information will be omitted from the data before it is made public. Read the final rule here.