By Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued its final rule, going into effect Aug. 10, on new electronic record-keeping and reporting requirements for injuries and illnesses, and agency officials said making those records public are meant to “nudge” companies into creating safer workplaces.
  • Construction industry employers with between 20 and 249 employees must send data from OSHA Form 300A to the agency electronically. All industries with 250 or more employees must also include information from Forms 300 and 301.
  • Construction industry pushback came quickly, with trade associations protesting that making injury data public will expose private company information and will provide only one aspect of a company’s entire safety story.

Dive Insight:

David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health, said excessive injuries reflect poor management and that making injury and illness records public is a chance for employers to show their investors, potential employees and customers that it operates in a safe manner. Michaels said OSHA will also be able to tailor its compliance and enforcement programs by having injury and illness information at the ready.

Associated Builders and Contractors’ Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore said that OSHA has previously recognized some information contained on its injury and illness forms as “sensitive,” such as hours worked by each employee.

Brian Turmail of the Associated General Contractors of America told Construction Dive that if the agency wants to require electronic record-keeping and submission of those records, it should specify exactly what information should be included. He said some firms, which log minor injuries or illnesses unnecessarily but are trying to be achieve compliance, might appear more unsafe than another company that is not logging all of its information. Turmail said he believes the agency should provide this guidance before displaying injury and illness forms publicly.