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    OSHA to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries & Illnesses

    New proposed rules are now open for public comment through Feb. 6.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to increase workplace safety and health.

    The agency has proposed new rules on the heels of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' release of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that 3 million workers were injured on the job in 2012.

    "Three million injuries are three million too many," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health 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 and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. 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 amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the 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 agency is also proposing that establishments with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, be required to submit electronically only 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.

    OSHA plans to eventually post this data online, as encouraged by President Obama's Open Government Initiative, according to the agency.

    The public has 90 days, through Feb. 6, to submit written comments on the proposed rules. On Jan. 9, OSHA will hold a public meeting in Washington, D.C.

     

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