The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a rule in March of 2022 that would require certain employers to electronically submit incident-specific data on workplace injuries and illnesses and would require OSHA to publish some of the reported data.
On June 30, on behalf of Worksafe – the only statewide nonprofit in California dedicated to promoting and protecting the basic right of all people to a safe and healthy workplace – we submitted a comment in support of this rule.
The comment explains that, by making incident-specific data electronically available, the Proposed Rule will help multiple stakeholders – including OSHA itself, workers, job seekers, unions, and workplace safety organizations – to identify the cause of injuries and illness and to take timely action to improve workplace conditions. The burden imposed on employers by the Proposed Rule is low, as it would merely require electronic submission of information that employers are already required to collect and maintain. When workers have been able to obtain case-specific data (something that happens rarely under the current regime), they have used it to identify and address the precise cause of repeat injuries, such as metalworking fluids that cause rashes or valves that require an excessive amount of force to operate.
Currently, only general, summary information about workplace injuries and illnesses is readily available online. OSHA itself only obtains case-specific information when an establishment has been inspected or when there is a report of a fatality or hospitalization. As a result, those attempting to understand specific health and safety issues in specific workplaces have only outdated, limited information that often fails to track the real, current workplace issues that workers face.
The comment also provides examples of unions using case-specific specific information to catalyze specific safety improvements.
Read the comment here.