OSHA Reopens the Door on Proposed MSD Column Addition on the 300 Log

In the May 17 Federal Register, OSHA published a notice that it would reopen the public record on the proposal to revise recordkeeping requirements by adding a work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) column on the OSHA 300 log.

OSHA first proposed to restore this column in January 2010. The proposed rule would prompt employers to mark the MSD column box on the 300 log if an already-recorded accident meets the definition of an MSD; it would not change existing recordkeeping requirements.

The agency temporarily withdrew this proposal Jan. 25, 2011, following reactions from some businesses. At the time, OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels said “…it is clear that the proposal has raised concern among small businesses, so OSHA is facilitating an active dialogue between the agency and the small business community.”

Now, OSHA is reopening the record to allow interested individuals to comment on the small business teleconferences that OSHA and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy cosponsored April 11-12. OSHA held the teleconferences to gather information from representatives of small businesses about their experiences recording work-related musculoskeletal disorders and how they believe they would be impacted by OSHA’s proposed rule. The public is invited to submit comments by June 16.

“OSHA is eager to hear from the public on this, and every, proposed rule,” said Michaels following the announcement to reopen the proposal’s record. “The more feedback the agency receives from small businesses on this topic, the better informed we will be in crafting a proposed regulation that protects workers without overburdening employers.”

Under the existing regulation, employers already must determine whether a case is recordable – that is, whether the case meets the definition of “injury or illness”; is a new case; is work-related; and meets at least one of the recording criteria. The proposed rule would define an MSD, for record-keeping purposes only, as a disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage or spinal discs that was not caused by a slip, trip, fall, motor vehicle accident or similar accident.

OSHA estimates that 1.505 million recordable MSDs are expected to occur annually among 1.542 million affected establishments and that the annualized costs of the proposed rule would be $1.7 million per year for all affected establishments combined.

OSHA posted a summary of comments about the teleconferences in the public docket for this rulemaking at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=OSHA-2009-0044-0139.

At the 2011 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHce) in Portland May 18, Michaels said he didn’t understand the controversy surrounding the column.

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