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May 16, 2016

Federal Government Expands Requirements To Report Injuries, Illnesses That Happen On The Job

The U.S. Labor Department last Wednesday released a final regulation updating and expanding employer requirements to submit workplace illness and injury records to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) electronically for posting on the agency’s website. 

The rule, which applies to employers with 250 or more employees and smaller companies (those with 20 to 249 employees) in more dangerous industries, including manufacturing, will take effect in January 2017. It requires employers to electronically report to OSHA annually all of the company’s injury and illness logs for that year. 

While the rule said that OSHA will not report any specific employee information, the agency also said it “intends to post the establishment-specific injury and illness data it collects under this final rule on its public Web site at www.osha.gov,” which means each company’s record will be available for public consumption. The agency made that clear in a press statement saying, “Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.” 

The rule also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report injuries or illnesses, allows employees and OSHA to request illness and injury records, and requires records to be posted in the workplace. 

With its partners at the National Association of Manufacturers, MSCI believes this rule will lead to the unfair and unnecessary public shaming of companies and that this rule is a misguided attempt at transparency that sacrifices employee and employer privacy, allows for distribution of proprietary information, and creates burdens for all manufacturers and members of the metals industry.