Nov. 26th, 2013
OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels announced a major proposed policy change regarding injury and incident recordkeeping earlier this month.
The proposal would dictate that private-industry businesses with more than 250 employees, already required to keep electronic safety records, submit those records to OSHA on a quarterly basis. The proposed rule would also mandate that establishments of more than 20 employees in industries with high incident rates submit their electronic injury and illness logs annually.
The newly transmitted electronic records would join those of approximately 60,000 other company records already available online, enabling employers, workers and government agencies to better identify the causes of workplace safety hazards and implement corrective actions to prevent them.
“The purpose of this rulemaking,” states the OSHA proposed rulemaking webpage, “is to improve workplace safety and health through the collection of useful, accessible, establishment-specific injury and illness data to which OSHA currently does not have direct, timely, and systematic access.”
Nearly identical ISN recordkeeping requirements pre-date the OSHA proposal by a decade. Since 2003, ISN Hiring Clients have required that contractors submit their updated safety records quarterly, allowing for accurate and real time assessment of workplace safety.
The OSHA announcement follows the recent release from the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) of its annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimated that nearly 3 million nonfatal recordable workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by U.S. private-industry employers in 2012, resulting in a rate of 3.4 incidents per 100 full-time workers.
A November 2013 analysis of ISNetworld member contractors showed an aggregated Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 1.77, 44% lower than the numbers released by the BLS.
These figures demonstrate a continued trend of significantly decreased incident rates for actively managed contractors, a result that OSHA presumably wishes to replicate with the new proposed ruling. “Three million injuries are three million too many,” Michaels said. “We can and we must do better.”
More information on the proposed ruling can be found on the OSHA website. The public will have until February 6, 2014, to submit written comments on the proposed rule, and OSHA will host a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
ISN releases the results of its benchmarking studies in its annual Health & Safety Performance Indicators Series, which compares contractor incident rates among industry peers. These reports allow contractors and their clients to accurately assess where their safety performance ranks in comparison to others in their respective fields. To request your copy, visit the ISN Publications page.