Long-awaited revisions to OSHA''s revised standard for employer recordkeeping were sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week.
OSHA Administrator Charles Jeffress said that the recordkeeping rule will be published in early January 2001.
OMB has to review the economic and paperwork impact of all major regulations, and the reviews normally take 90 days.
However, Jeffress said that OSHA and OMB have "been in discussion for some time" on the recordkeeping rulemaking.
According to Jeffress, the rule that is now under review is "mostly a refinement" of the proposal the agency published in 1996.
He said changes have been made to render the regulation clearer on the issues of work-relatedness of a reported injury, when musculoskeletal injuries must be reported, how to define light duty, and what constitutes first aid as opposed to medical treatment.
Jeffress said the rule will become effective in January 2002, giving employers and states time to modify their injury reporting systems and ensure that the reporting of injuries will continue on a calendar year basis.
The revised rule would change and simplify the forms employers have used since the 1970s to record work-related injuries and illnesses.
Publication of the final rule was expected earlier this year, but OSHA delayed it in order to focus its efforts on the final ergonomics rulemaking.
by Virginia Sutcliffe