On the Publication of OSHA’s Final Rule on Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Washington, DC—Following is a statement by Deborah Berkowitz, senior fellow on worker safety and health with the National Employment Law Project and a former chief of staff at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

“After a needless five-month delay, OSHA’s rule requiring certain dangerous worksites to submit a brief summary of serious injury and illness data will go into effect on December 15. This rule is good for workers, employers, and for OSHA. The data is critical to the agency’s efforts to target enforcement and compliance assistance resources to the most dangerous workplaces to prevent serious injuries and workplace deaths.

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“Prior to the five-month delay, OSHA had already given employers more than a year to prepare to submit these few lines of data, and had established a database and website ready to receive the data. The rule announcing the requirement and a new date for submission will be published in the Federal Register on Friday.

“NELP submitted comments last July opposing the proposed delay, citing the fact that all employers that keep OSHA 300 logs already have to post this same data at the workplace during the month of February. Further, for almost two decades, a total of 180,000 establishments already sent this information to OSHA during the OSHA Data Initiative. This common-sense requirement provides OSHA, workers, employers, and the public with important injury and illness data needed to focus prevention efforts where they are most needed.

“OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women. It must come as a surprise to the public that OSHA doesn’t already receive this necessary data. More than 4,800 workers were killed on the job last year, and almost three million more workers in the private sector were seriously injured. OSHA must stand up for the workers in this nation and continue to carry out its mission and implement the requirements of this rule immediately.”

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