OSHA said it has extended the comment period on its controversial proposed electronic-reporting rule. The agency has pushed the comment deadline to Oct. 14.
Published on Nov. 8, 2013, the rule would amend OSHA’s current recordkeeping regulations to require the nation’s 38,000 establishments with more than 250 employees (and that already are required to keep records) to electronically submit the records to OSHA on a quarterly basis. The 440,000 U.S. companies with more than 20 employees but fewer than 250 that are in certain industries with high injury and illness rates would be required to electronically submit their records to OSHA once a year.
When OSHA convened a public meeting to discuss the proposal, many participants expressed concern that the rule would encourage underrecording of injuries and illnesses, since each covered establishment’s data would become publicly available on OSHA’s website.
Participants also expressed concern that the proposal would lead to an increase in the number of employers who adopt practices that discourage employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses. OSHA said it’s concerned that the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers adopt these practices.
“OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health,” OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels said.
Given the aforementioned feedback, OSHA is soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to:
- Require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses.
- More clearly communicate the requirement that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome.
- Provide OSHA an additional remedy to prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.
Comments can be submitted electronically on the federal e-rulemaking portal.