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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
January 12, 1993
Mr. Richard L. Gaynor
Assistant Director for Personnel
The Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11238
Dear Mr. Gaynor:
I am responding to your letter dated November 24, 1992, which was forwarded to my office from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). My Division of Recordkeeping Requirements is responsible for administering the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) injury and illness recordkeeping system nationwide. Please excuse the lengthy delay in our response.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires the Secretary of Labor to maintain an effective program for the collection, compilation, and analysis of statistics of work related injuries and illnesses. The BLS is responsible for gathering and compiling the statistics. BLS conducts a mandatory survey of firms' OSHA records to produce estimates of the Nation's injury and illness experience for all private industries. The data produced from the survey are used to identify those industries which need assistance in improving their safety and health programs and to identify high risk industries and activities. Employers and employees also use the records to determine many of the factors which cause injuries and illnesses in the workplace.
I appreciate your suggestion that the occupational injury and illness data be obtained from workers' compensation carriers. While potentially useful, our analysis of the limited workers' compensation data that is available show that they are most likely incomplete due to differing State laws, self-insured corporations, privacy regulations, etc. The OSHA Act is very specific in the types of injury and illness data that must be collected. Some of these data are unavailable from any other existing source.
Enclosed is a copy of page 58 from the Recordkeeping Guidelines of Occupational Injuries and Illness, as well as a copy of Section 17 of the OSHA Act which discuss the penalties for not complying with the regulations. Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1904.9(b) specifically addresses an employers
failure to submit these required reports. Please note that Section 17 of the Act addresses the increased fine levels which were implemented in 1990.
If you have any further questions, please call my staff at Area Code (202) 219-6463.
Stephen A. Newell
Office of Statistics