Rules + Regs

OSHA and NIOSH debate workplace injury reporting mandate

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing to drop its mandate requiring workplaces to send OSHA reports regarding every injury and illness. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is asking OSHA to keep the reporting mandate and offering to analyze the reports, according to Bloomberg Law.

OSHA approved the requirement during the Obama administration, but it has been delayed under the Trump administration as the agency considers whether to overturn parts of the rule. NIOSH submitted comments to OSHA Sept. 28, 2018, saying the information OSHA would stop collecting offers "a uniquely representative and comprehensive data source" regarding injuries. One of the reasons OSHA wants to drop the mandate is the agency is unable to handle and analyze the hundreds of thousands of employer reports, which NIOSH is offering to help manage. NIOSH says it has developed software that can handle large amounts of workers' compensation claims data from states and can be used to sort through the injury and illness reports.

David Bonauto, research director at Washington state's Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention, told Bloomberg BNA the details on an individual injury and illness case summary—called OSHA Form 301—are crucial for avoiding injuries. He also said software programs can be designed so they do not collect personal identification information and can protect workers' privacy. Various groups are offering to help OSHA develop methods to review reports.