OSHA issues workplace injury and illness final rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to modernize workplace injury and illness data collection to better inform workers, employers and the public about workplace hazards. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries must send OSHA injury and illness data to be posted on OSHA's website.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than 3 million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness each year. Although OSHA already requires many employers to keep records of injuries and illnesses to help employers and their employees identify hazards, little information about injuries and illnesses that occur at individual workplaces is made available to OSHA or the public. Using data collected under the new rule, OSHA will create the largest publicly available data set for work injuries and illnesses.

Public disclosure of work injury and illness data likely will encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. Prospective employees will be able to identify workplaces with the lowest risk of injury, so employers that want to hire the best workers will have to make injury prevention a high priority. Access to the data also will enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders to improve their own safety programs.