National News Release USDL: 01-202
June 29, 2001
Contact: Stuart Roy
Phone: (202) 693-4650
OSHA Rule On Record Keeping For Workplace
Injuries To Go Into Effect as Scheduled
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced today that an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule on record keeping would largely go into effect as scheduled on January 1, 2002.
"This rule is a big step forward in making workplaces safer for employees, which is our goal," Chao said. "It is written in plain language and simplifies the employer's decision-making process."
The final recordkeeping rule is the culmination of an effort that began in the 1980s to improve how the government tracks occupational injuries and illnesses. The rule increases employee involvement, creates simpler forms and gives employers more flexibility to use computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements.
The Department will seek comment on two proposed modifications to the rule's record keeping requirements. First, the Department will propose that the criteria for recording work-related hearing loss not be implemented for one year pending further investigation into the level of hearing loss that should be recorded as a "significant" health condition. The Department had received comments pointing out that the medical community and State worker compensation systems do not support the current rule's hearing loss standard.
Second, the Department will propose to delay for one year the record keeping rule's definition of "musculoskeletal disorder" (MSD) and the requirement that employers check the MSD column on the OSHA Log. The Department has announced its intention to develop a comprehensive plan to address ergonomic hazards and has scheduled a series on ergonomics. The issues to be decided as a result of these forums include the appropriate definitions of the terms "ergonomic injury" and MSD.
Chao said, "Until a definition is agreed upon, the data collected will not help us target the injuries that need to be eliminated."
(Editor's Note: Information on OSHA's proposal to delay the effective date regarding hearing loss and MSD issues will be published in the July 3, 2001 Federal Register).
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