OSHA proposes rule to require employers to submit electronic injury records; public could compare companies – Houston Business Journal

OSHA wants businesses to submit electronic injury reports, which it will post for public

Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill endorsed OSHA’s proposed regulation, noting that Alcoa reduced its injury rate when it adopted real-time reporting of injuries when he was chairman and CEO.

Are you ready for a public competition with other businesses in your industry on who has the safest workplaces?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hopes so — it wants to require employers to report their injury and illness records to the agency electronically. OSHA will scrub personally identifiable information from these records in order to protect employee privacy, but then will post these records online. The public — including prospective employees — will then be able to compare companies not only on their overall injury rates, but also on the types of injuries and illnesses their workers are experiencing.

This will encourage employers to fix hazards in their workplaces, said OSHA Administrator David Michaels.

“Employers want to be seen as the top employers in their industry,” he said.

The proposed regulation also will help OSHA identify which employers need their help the most — compliance assistance as well as safety inspections.

Under the proposed rule, employers with more than 250 workers would be required to submit electronically their injury records, including case-characteristic data, to OSHA on a quarterly basis. Employers with more than 20 workers in industries with high injury and illness rates would be required to submit electronically a summary of their work-related injuries and illnesses once a year.

“The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA,” Michaels said.

OSHA currently collects aggregate information on injuries and illnesses from 60,000 employers in high-hazard industries.

Under the proposed regulation, about 38,000 large employers would transmit electronic injury records to OSHA on a quarterly basis. Another 440,000 smaller employers would be required to submit summary data on an annual basis.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill joined Michaels on a press call announcing the new regulation. O’Neill instituted real-time reporting of injuries and illnesses at Alcoa when he was chairman and CEO of that company.

This information helped the company reduce its injury rate to near-zero because “we didn’t have to learn the same lesson over and over again,” he said.

OSHA’s proposed regulation is a “great initiative,” he said.

We’ll see if other businesses feel the same. The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed regulation, and OSHA will hold a public meeting on it Jan. 9 in Washington, D.C.

OSHA’s announcement came on the same day that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were nearly 3 million nonfatal private-sector workplace injuries and illnesses in 2012.

That’s “3 million too many,” Michaels said.

“This should not be acceptable in the United States today.”

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Our Mission

At Safety By Design, our mission is to keep businesses running as safely and efficiently as possible. This leads to lower insurance premiums, lower administration costs, and lower injury costs – ultimately resulting in happier workers, higher profits and happier owners.

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We help the following industries:

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Who are we?

“Hi. I’m Lee Hart, founder of Safety By Design.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of safety companies come and go. They’ve been skilled and qualified, but not nearly as concerned with their relationships as they were with their bottom lines. When other companies were nickel-and-diming their clients and making mistakes on invoices, I was in the field shaking hands and making friends.

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Read more about our founder here.

For now, if you’re looking to run a smoother, safer and more profitable business, we’re ready to help design a safety program that’s custom-tailored to your unique needs.

Call us today at 832-425-0556, invite us over to have a look, and let us show you how our personalized and focused service can mean a safer site and more efficient business for you and your team.

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