March 10, 2014
Thousands Encourage Occupational Safety and Health Administration to Move Forward With Recordkeeping Improvement Rule
More Than 8,400 Public Citizen Members Support OSHA’s Move to Modernize its Recordkeeping System and Call for Improvements to the Agency’s Proposed Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 8,400 Public Citizen members and supporters are urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to move ahead with a proposal to require employers to electronically submit to OSHA records on injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
The agency proposed the rule late last year to greatly modernize its recordkeeping and data collection systems, and to ensure more timely protections for workers.
“OSHA’s proposal would improve workplace safety and health through the collection of useful, accessible, establishment-specific injury and illness data,” Keith Wrightson, Public Citizen’s worker safety and health advocate, said. “At present, OSHA does not electronically receive an establishment’s injury and illness data log. This void forces the agency to rely on data that is more than a year old when attempting to respond to hazardous workplace conditions.”
Wrightson’s technical comment on the proposed rule was submitted today along with a citizens’ comment with more than 8,400 signatures from Public Citizen members and supporters calling on OSHA to move “full steam ahead” with the rule.
Under the proposed rule, employers with more than 250 employees would be required to submit electronic records about illnesses and injuries on a quarterly basis. Currently, employers submit these reports on paper, which can create a delay as long as 15 months or more before OSHA can begin analyzing and acting on identified workplace safety hazards.
In addition to its supportive comments, Public Citizen encouraged OSHA to stop employers from engaging in practices that could discourage employees from reporting injuries and illness, such as programs that reward worksites for going an entire month with no accidents.
“OSHA’s proposed rule is a much-needed change that will improve the agency’s ability to protect workers from unnecessary risk and harm,” Wrightson said. “The agency should strengthen the rule and move full-steam ahead to finalize it so that workplace hazards may be more quickly identified and resolved.”