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New OSHA Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates Series Of Problems

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 11 – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released the following statement in reaction to the release of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, commonly referred to as “electronic recordkeeping.”

“OSHA created a rule that does nothing to achieve its stated goal of reducing workplace injuries and illnesses and ignored the concerns from industry that this rulemaking will have unintended negative consequences,” said ABC Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Development Greg Sizemore. “Associated Builders and Contractors is committed to working with our members and OSHA to create safe construction work environments. However, in departing from its current ’no fault’ recordkeeping system, OSHA has empowered itself to disseminate records and data to the public that fails to show the complete narrative of a company’s safety record or its efforts to promote a safe work environment.

“Additionally, OSHA has exceeded its authority by forcing companies to reveal confidential business details to the public,” said Sizemore. “In the past, OSHA has recognized sensitive information, such as the number of hours worked by employees on a project, as ‘privileged and confidential.’ However, in departing from this opinion OSHA will give competitors undue access to business processes that should remain confidential.”

ABC has been an active participant throughout the electronic recordkeeping rulemaking process. ABC has:

• Participated in a Jan. 2014 public meeting held by OSHA to explain its concerns with the proposed rule as a member of the Coalition for Workplace Safety (CWS)

Submitted comments in March 2014 along with more than 900 member companies asking OSHA to withdraw the rule as proposed

OSHA Now Allows Electronic Submissions for Injury and Illness Reporting

A year after OSHA’s new injury and illness reporting requirements went into effect (Jan. 1, 2015); the agency launched a webpage to allow employers to electronically report cases. Employers now have three ways to report incidents: electronically through OSHA’s new web portal, https://www.osha.gov/report.html; by phone (1–800–321–OSHA or 1–800–321–6742); or by contacting the nearest OSHA Area Office.

The new rule implemented new deadlines and requirements for reporting severe injuries on the jobsite for all employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act – even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records. Contractors are required to notify OSHA within eight hours if there is a work-related fatality on the job and within 24 hours when an employee suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.

The reporting application includes mandatory fields for the required information. If the report does not include the required information in the mandatory fields, the reporting application will not accept the report. Also, State Plans may have alternate requirements and may not accept reports via this reporting application. The application informs employers how to proceed in instances where a State Plan will not accept a report via the application.