The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) recently enacted a new rule regarding the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. BizJournal reported that certain employers are now required to electronically submit data that is already collected regarding workplace injuries and illnesses.
One of the main reasons for the new electronic submission process stems from an understanding of human behavior and motivation, per OSHA.gov. The administration reported that behavioral economics suggests that making workplace injury information public will nudge employers to focus more on safety. Past cases have shown that increasing the focus on safety will save lives and limbs. Decreasing workplace injuries is also good for the employer’s bottom line.
There were 4,379 worker fatalities in private industry in 2015. One in five fatalities –937—involved construction site accidents.
Under the new electronic submission process, employers will submit the data via a secure website provided by OSHA. Employers will have three submission options to choose from.
- Manually enter data into a webform
- Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time
- Transmit data electronically via an application programming interface (API)
OSHA also believes that the new electronic reporting process will improve accuracy of the data by ensuring workers will not fear retaliation form reporting a workplace injury or illness. The new rule prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting injuries or illnesses suffered on the job. Employers are required to inform employees of their rights to report workplace injuries or work-related illnesses free from retaliation. The most common channel to inform employees of their right is via an OSHA rights poster that is already required in workplaces.
The new rules took effect on August 10, 2016, but the administration delayed enforcement until December 1, 2016. Employers will phase in the new process during the next two years.
As part of the United States Department of Labor, OSHA ensures safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. To learn more about OSHA’s record keeping requirements, visit: www.osha.gov/recordkeeping.