OSHA has pushed back the deadline for commenting on its proposed electronic-reporting rule to March 8, in response to a request from the National Association of Home Builders.
When OSHA published the proposed rule in the Nov. 8, 2013, Federal Register, the original deadline for submitting written comments was Feb. 6. However, the National Association of Home Builders asked the agency to extend the comment period by 90 days, citing the fact that the comment period for the proposed recordkeeping rule overlaps with the comment period for OSHA’s proposed silica rule (which has been extended to Jan. 27), both of which affect the construction industry.
“The extension ensures that stakeholders will have a full 120 days to submit comments, which OSHA believes is adequate for this limited rulemaking,” OSHA says on its website. “The extension also ensures that stakeholders who attend the Jan. 9, 2014, public meeting on the proposed rule will have an opportunity to incorporate into their comments their views on relevant information presented at the meeting.”
OSHA’s proposed rule would amend its 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 on a quarterly basis to OSHA. 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 summary of work-related injuries and illnesses to OSHA once a year.
OSHA plans to eventually post the data online. The agency believes that timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data will help it target its compliance-assistance and enforcement resources more effectively by identifying workplaces where workers are at greater risk.
"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,” OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels said in November. “The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer's obligation to transmit these records to OSHA.”