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OSHA Mandates Electronic, Public Reporting of Workplace Injury and Illness Reports

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) has published a final rule that will require many employers to submit workplace injury and illness reports electronically. Those reports will then be made publicly available online.

OSHA says it will not publish any information that could be used to identify individual employees. But employers and workplaces will be identified. OSHA designed the new rule to improve employer health and safety efforts by putting the pressure of public disclosure on companies. OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels, in an interview with The Hill, explained, “No employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace. OSHA expects that public disclosure of work injury data will encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.”

Others, such as the National Association of Manufacturers view the rule as an effort to “shame” companies into improving conditions.

Who is affected?

The final rule covers all employers with more than 250 employees. In addition, employers with between 20 and 249 employees in “hazardous industries” are covered. Those industries include construction, farming, trucking, manufacturing and utilities, as well as a large number of retail employers (department stores, grocery stores, and “general merchandise stores”) and “lessors of real estate.”  The full list of covered employers is here.

Covered companies will be required to begin reporting electronically on July 1, 2017.

Read the Federal Register Notice here.