OSHA issued a final rule that will require employers to electronically submit worker injury and illness data, which then will be made public. The original compliance date of July 1, 2016 was delayed until December 15, 2017 to allow affected employers additional time to become familiar with the electronic reporting system.
Employers with 250 or more workers are mandated by the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness final rule to electronically submit OSHA's Form 300A on an annual basis. Employers with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries, including scheduled air transportation and support activities for air transportation, are required to submit information from as well.
The change to electronic reporting with information available to the public through a searchable database is believed to improve safety for workers across the country. OSHA administrator David Michaels said during a May 11th press conference, "Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will nudge employers to focus on safety. As we've seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers and will ultimately help the employer's bottom line as well. Researchers are enabled to better study injury causation, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread, and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities."
Through electronic submission on the website, OSHA is able to receive more accurate and current information. Employers must have an appropriate reporting procedure which will not deter workers from reporting as the rule emphasizes the workers' rights to report injuries without fear of retaliation. You can inform employees of their right to report by posting an already-required OSHA workplace poster.
All personal information will be removed before the information is made public. Other thoughts are the rule is misguided and will lead to employers falsely branded as unsafe with excessive reporting requirements and publishing sensitive data employer data without context or explanation.