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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents


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 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 in order 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. In addition, two public meetings were held in Washington, DC (March 26-29 and April 30-May 1). Over 450 written comments were entered into the Docket R-02, along with 1,200 pages of input derived from nearly 60 presentations given at the public meetings.

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 utility of the information for all the entities using the data, OSHA needs to provide clearer guidance to employers, simplify the recordkeeping forms and provide employees with access to the information.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The legal basis for issuance of this final rule is Section 8(c)(1) of the 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 Costs and Benefits: The costs and benefits of the final rule have not yet been determined.

Risks: Not applicable.


Action Date FR Cite

NPRM 02/02/96 61 FR 4030
NPRM Comment Period End 07/02/96  
Final Action 06/00/99  
Final Action Effective 01/00/00  

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes

Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations

Government Levels Affected: None

Sectors Affected: All

Agency Contact: Marthe B. Kent, Director, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N3605, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-2222
Fax: 202 693-1663

RIN: 1218-AB24

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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