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1952. RECORDING AND REPORTING OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES AND ILLNESSES (SIMPLIFIED INJURY/ILLNESS RECORDKEEPING REQUIREMENTS)
Priority: Other Significant
Reinventing Government: This rulemaking is part of the Reinventing Government effort. It will revise text in the CFR to reduce burden or duplication, or streamline requirements.
Legal Authority: 29 USC 657; 29 USC 673
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1904; 29 CFR 1952.4
Legal Deadline: None
Abstract: OSHA requires employers to keep records of occupational illnesses and injuries. These records are used by OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), among others, to develop data on workplace safety and health by industry and across industries. Over the years concerns about the reliability and utility of these data have been raised by Congress, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Academy of Sciences, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Accounting Office, business and labor, as well as BLS and OSHA. In the late 1980's, OSHA contracted with the Keystone Center to bring together representatives of industry, labor, government, and academia in a year-long effort to discuss problems with OSHA's injury and illness recordkeeping system. Keystone issued a report with specific recommendations on how to improve the system. In 1995, OSHA held several meetings with stakeholders from business, labor and government to obtain feedback on a draft OSHA recordkeeping proposal and to gather related information.
OSHA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the February 2, 1996 Federal Register that contained revised recordkeeping requirements and recordkeeping forms. The original 90-day public comment period was extended another 60 days and ended July 2, 1996. During that comment period, the public submitted over 450 written comments to OSHA Docket R-02. In addition, OSHA held two public meetings in Washington, DC (March 26-29 and April 30-May 1) resulting in 1,200 pages of transcripts from nearly 60 presentations. OSHA is now planning to issue a final rule that incorporates changes based on an analysis of the public comments and testimony.
Statement of Need: The occupational injury and illness records maintained by employers are an important component of OSHA's program. The records are used by employers and employees to identify and evaluate workplace safety and health hazards, and they provide OSHA personnel with necessary information during workplace inspections. The records also provide the source data for the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses conducted by the BLS.
All of these uses of the data are affected by the quality of the records employers maintain. Higher quality data lead to higher quality analyses, which in turn lead to better decisions about occupational safety and health matters. To improve the quality of the records and enhance the use of the information, OSHA needs to provide clearer regulatory guidance to employers and simplify the recordkeeping forms.
Summary of Legal Basis: The legal basis for issuance of this final rule is Section 8(c)(1) of the OSH Act, which requires employers to record and report such records as are necessary for the enforcement of the Act and for developing information on the causes and prevention of occupational accidents and illnesses, as required by regulation, and section 24(a) of the Act, which requires OSHA to develop an effective program of occupational safety and health statistics to further the purposes of the Act.
Alternatives: One alternative to publication of a final rule is to take no action and continue to administer the injury and illness recordkeeping system using the current regulation, forms and guidelines. Another alternative is to revise the current rule to expand its coverage and scope (i.e., eliminate the current rule's small employer and Standard Industrial Classification exemptions). The first alternative is unacceptable because it does not address the problems with the current system identified by participants in the Keystone dialogue and other OSHA stakeholders. The second alternative is also unacceptable because it would require many employers, especially small- business employers, in low hazard industries to keep OSHA injury and illness data. This could impose a substantial paperwork burden on those employers without commensurate benefit.
Anticipated Cost and Benefits: OSHA has not determined the costs and benefits of the final rule.
Risks: Not applicable.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations
Government Levels Affected: None
Agency Contact: Marthe B. Kent, Director, Directorate of Safety
Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, Room N3609, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building,
Washington, DC 20210
Unified Agenda - Table of Contents|