OSHA’s proposed rule was announced on November 8.  It modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit records of injury and illness reports to OSHA by amending 29 CFR 1904.41.  The new regulation adds three new electronic reporting requirements.  First, companies with 250 employees or more will be required to make worker injury and illness records public through a quarterly electronic reporting system.  Second, companies with 20 or more workers in designated industries having high injury rates will be required to submit electronic summaries of injuries and illnesses yearly, replacing OSHA’s current annual injury and illness survey.  Third, all employees who receive notice from OSHA will be required to electronically submit specified information from their Part 1904 records.  Details on the proposed rule may be found online here.

The 90-day period for public comment is underway, ending on February 6, 2014.  OSHA will hold a public meeting on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.  The deadline to request to attend as a speaker or observer is Friday, December 13, 2013.  Additional information on attending the meeting may be found online here.

Business groups are expected to oppose the draft rules, warning that such statistics do not provide a complete picture of a particular injury or a company’s safety program.  Companies are concerned that they will be targeted as having subpar safety records solely based on OSHA’s electronic reporting system.  Other groups, such as safety advocates, view this as a way for OSHA to increase pressure on companies to comply with workplace safety rules in lieu of increasing inspections and fines.

Husch Blackwell will continue to monitor and report on the rule-making process for this potentially dramatic change in illness & injury reporting.

For additional information, please contact Dominique Savinelli or Joe Orlet.