OSHA seeks more comments on injury and illness tracking

by Judith E. Kramer

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has extended the comment period for the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. Comments will be accepted through October 14.

The proposal, published on November 8, 2013, would amend the agency’s record-keeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

OSHA said it extended the comment period because during the public meeting on the proposal, many participants expressed concern that the rule might encourage employers to under-record injuries and illnesses because covered establishments’ injury and illness data would be publicly available on OSHA’s website.

In addition, participants were concerned that the proposal would lead to an increase in the number of employers that adopt practices that discourage employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses.

OSHA is now soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to:

  • Require employers to inform employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses;
  • More clearly communicate the requirement that any injury and illness reporting rules established by a company be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and
  • Give the agency an additional remedy to prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

To read the proposal and obtain information on how to submit comments, click here.

Judith Kramer is an attorney with Fortney & Scott, LLC, in Washington, D.C., and an editor of Federal Employment Law Insider, a monthly newsletter about new federal laws and regulations affecting the workplace. She can be reached at