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Concerned that a proposed rule that obligates certain employers to publish their injury and illness records might lead to employers misreporting that data, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the rule’s comment period and is asking for reaction to making such underreporting a violation.
The deadline to comment has been moved to Oct. 14, 2014.
The proposed rule would amend OSHA’s injury and illness reporting requirements by obligating certain employers to submit their injury and illness survey data electronically to OSHA, where it would eventually be posted online for public viewing. The nation’s 38,000 employers with more than 250 employees (that already are required to keep records) would have to submit their data to OSHA on a quarterly basis. The 440,000 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 submit their records to OSHA once a year.
Since the announcement of the proposed rule in November 2013, many stakeholders expressed concern that the proposal could motivate employers to underreport their employees’ injuries and illnesses. Commenters said that the proposed rule could promote an increase in workplace policies and procedures that deter or discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses, such as adopting unreasonable reporting requirements and retaliating against employees who do report.
OSHA said it’s concerned that the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers discourage reporting.
The agency is now soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to:
To that end, OSHA is seeking comment on these specific questions:
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
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