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November 14, 2013

OSHA Proposes New Workplace Injury / Illness Tracking Rule

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OSHA has issued a proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The announcement follows the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.

"Three million injuries are three million too many," said OSHA head Dr. David Michaels. "With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards... The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer's obligation to transmit these records to OSHA."

OSHA is proposing to add requirements for electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep under existing standards. The first proposed new requirement is for 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.

The new proposal also calls for employers with 20 or more workers in certain industries with high injury and illness rates to electronically submit their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year. Currently, many such firms report this information to OSHA under OSHA's Data Initiative.

The public can submit comments through Feb. 6, 2014. On Jan. 9, 2014, OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, D.C.

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