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Frequently Asked Questions — Proposed Improvements to Tracking of Injuries and Illnesses

Note: This is a proposed rule that seeks to make changes to the reporting requirements of OSHA's recordkeeping rule. At this stage, OSHA is accepting comments on these proposed revisions. The next stage in this rulemaking process will be for OSHA to carefully review all comments before promulgating a final rule.

  1. Does this proposal change who is required to keep records, or change any of the current recording criteria?

    No. The proposed rule does not add to or change any employer's obligation to complete and retain the injury and illness records under Part 1904. The proposed rule also does not add to or change the recording criteria or definitions for these records. The proposed rule only modifies employers' obligations to transmit information from these records to OSHA.

  2. Why is OSHA proposing to improve the tracking of injuries and illnesses?

    The purpose of this rulemaking is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities through the collection, public posting and analysis of useful, accessible, establishment-specific injury and illness data. Currently, OSHA never sees most of the injury and illness logs compiled by employers in the US. An updated and modernized reporting system would enable a more efficient and timely collection of data and would improve the accuracy and availability of injury and illness data. With the information acquired through this proposed rule, employers, employees, employee representatives, the government, and researchers will be better able to identify and abate workplace hazards. This information will also help OSHA use its resources more effectively by enabling OSHA to identify the workplaces where workers are at greatest risk.

  3. How would this affect employers?

    First, establishments that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904, and that had 250 or more employees in the previous year, would be required to submit information from these records to OSHA or OSHA's designee, electronically, on a quarterly basis.

    Second, establishments that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904, had 20 or more employees in the previous year, and are in certain designated industries would be required to electronically submit the information from the OSHA annual summary form (Form 300A) to OSHA or OSHA's designee on an annual basis. The designated industries represent all industries covered by Part 1904 with a 2009 Days Away From Work, Job Restriction, or Job Transfer (DART) rate of 2.0 or greater in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding four selected transit industries where local government is a major employer.

    Third, upon notification, employers would be required to electronically submit to OSHA specified information from the records they keep, or would keep, under Part 1904.  The only difference between this provision and the current regulation is that employers would be required to submit the requested information electronically.

  4. How would employers report their data?

    OSHA will provide a secure website for the data collection. Employers will register their establishments and be assigned a login ID and password. The website will allow for both direct data entry and submission of data through a batch file upload, as appropriate.  Please see http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html for an example of what the website might look like.

  5. When would employers start reporting?

    This is a proposed rule that seeks to make changes to the reporting requirements. At this stage, OSHA is accepting comments on these proposed revisions. A determination on when employers are required to implement the revisions will be made when OSHA issues a final rule.

  6. Why are the existing injury and illness data not enough?

    OSHA currently does not have timely, systematic access to the establishment-specific information employers are already required to record under Part 1904. OSHA has access to establishment-specific injury and illness information in a particular year only if the establishment was inspected, was part of the OSHA Data Initiative, and/or reported a fatality or multiple hospitalization event. But each year, OSHA inspects only a small percentage of the seven and a half million establishments in the US. The ODI collects only summary data, the data are not timely, and the group of 80,000 establishments in each year's ODI is only a small subset of establishments covered by the recordkeeping rule.  And the fatality/multiple hospitalization event data do not include the establishment's injury and illness records unless OSHA also conducts an inspection.

  7. Why can't OSHA use the establishment-specific data from the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)?

    The Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (Publ. Law 107-347, Dec. 17, 2002) prohibits BLS from releasing establishment-specific data to the general public or to OSHA.

  8. Would OSHA make the data public?

    Yes. OSHA intends to make the data it collects public, as encouraged by President Obama's Open Government Initiative. The publication of specific data elements will in part be restricted by provisions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act, as well as specific provisions within Part 1904. OSHA may make the following data from the various forms available in a searchable on-line database:

    All data fields from the OSHA Form 300A (Summary form)

    All data fields from the OSHA Form 300 (Log) EXCEPT the employee's name

    The data fields on the right side of the OSHA Form 301 (Incident report), i.e., case number, date of injury or illness, time employee began work, time of event, what the employee was doing just before the incident occurred, what happened, what the injury or illness was, what object or substance directly harmed the employee, and the date of death if applicable.

    Please see http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/proposed_data_form.html for an example of what the website might look like.

  9. Would OSHA be the only government agency that makes establishment-specific injury and illness data public?

    No. Other agencies post establishment-specific health and safety data with personal identifiers, including names. These agencies include the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration.

  10. What would be the costs to businesses for implementing these changes?

    The rule will not require any new or additional recording of injuries and illnesses; the additional costs are only those involved with sending the information electronically to OSHA.  The agency estimates that this rule will have a total cost to private industry of $10.5 million per year, with costs of $183 per year for affected establishments with 250 or more employees and $9 per year for affected establishments with 20 or more employees in designated industries. 

  11. How many additional establishments will have to provide the Government their injury and illness OSHA Form 300A, or Summary, data?

    Approximately 180,000 establishments are currently subject to being selected to participate in OSHA’s collection of Summary data under the OSHA Data Initiative (ODI). The proposed requirements include a provision that would require approximately 440,000 establishments to electronically provide their summary data to OSHA. Approximately 260,000 establishments would be newly required to provide the summary data.

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