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OSHA’s New Recordkeeping Rule – Part 2

- March 16, 2017 by Philip Bivens, CSP (View all posts by Philip)

In January, I blogged about OSHA’s new recordingkeeping rule. Today, I’d like to expand on that blog. OSHA’s new rule does come with concerns from both employers and employees. The agency has taken steps to address these concerns before implementing the new rule, but that has not satisfied all industries. OSHA hopes that employers will be able to use this information to benchmark their own safety performance. Employers will now be able to compare injury rates at their establishments to those at comparable establishments.

Concerns

Some employers feel that making this information public could be detrimental to their business. They argue that the reported information will lack pertinent information surrounding the circumstances of the injury or illness circumstances. For example, the size of the company will not be a part of the public data; therefore, simply publishing number of injuries is not representing employers with a large number of employees in a fair way.

Other concerns include:

  • Unfair business practices with the public data
  • Privacy concerns
  • Anti-relation to employees
  • Additional workload for some companies

Retaliation

The rule does prohibit employers from discouraging employees from reporting an injury or illness. It requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. The rule does not prohibit incentive programs; however, it states “employers must not create incentive programs that deter or discourage an employee from reporting an injury or illness.

OSHA will remove any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that could be used to identify individual employees. OSHA will not collect employee names, employee addresses, names of physicians or other health care professional. All case specific narrative information in the employer reports will be scrubbed for personal information using software that will search for PII before the data is posted.

Enforcement

Under this new rule, OSHA will be able to cite an employer for retaliation, even if the employee did not file a complaint. They can also cite them if the employer has a program that deters or discourages reporting through the threat of retaliation. Within six months after publication, state plans will have to include requirements that “are substantially identical to the requirements in the final rule.”

For more information on OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting requirements, visit here.

 

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