Sometimes encouraging significant changes requires a nudge. And that’s exactly what OSHA hopes the new policy on tracking workplace injuries and illnesses will do – “nudge” employers to reduce work-related injuries and illnesses.
Currently, employers can’t compare their injury experience with other businesses in their industry; they can only compare their experience with their industry as a whole. However, the final rule that became effective January 1, 2017 will revise the requirements for recording and submitting records of workplace injuries and illnesses. The recorded information must now be submitted to OSHA electronically for posting on the OSHA website.
With the change in recording injuries and illnesses, investors, job seekers, customers, and the broader public will be able to compare businesses within an industry.
The improved way of tracking workplace injuries and illnesses will also motivate employers to set safety goals to eliminate hazards in their workplace. Collecting data electronically will finally provide employers with tools they need to compare injury rates at their establishments to others in the industry.
The new rule will prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths by better identifying and removing trends in workplace hazards.
OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three different options for submitted data.
Please note - The electronic submission requirements do not change an employer’s obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records.
Data submission from OSHA Forms 300 — Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, 300A — Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and 301 — Injury and Illness Incident Report for these establishments will be phased in as follows:
Once workplace injuries and illnesses are submitted electronically, OSHA will post the data it collects on its public website (www.osha.gov). Any Personally Identifiable Information (PPI) will be removed by OSHA prior to the data being released to the public.
Once an incident occurs in the workplace, employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. This obligation may be met by posting the OSHA Job Safety and Health - It’s The Law worker rights poster.
Employers are not to deter or discourage employees from reporting injuries and illnesses.
Per OSHA, employers may not retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. This regulation will improve the accuracy of the data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.
With the final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses, workplace hazards will be identified earlier and will hopefully be removed, reducing the chances of another worker being injured or becoming ill on the job.
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(Information updated on July 5, 2017 per OSHA National News Release)
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