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OSHA suggests public database on workplace safety

The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration has suggested that some workplaces in Pennsylvania and across the nation be required to put their records of injuries and sicknesses online once every three months. The information would be public and available in a database. OSHA believes that mandatory reporting will hold employers accountable for on-the-job safety. However, opponents think that the regulation could be counterproductive for businesses. A meeting on the ruling is scheduled for January 2014 but a date for a final decision on the proposal wasn't listed.

Businesses that would be required to keep and submit quarterly records are those with more than 249 employees. They would need to submit the information within one month after the end of the quarter and would also need to report annual information by March 2 of each year. Businesses with a minimum of 20 workers would need to submit yearly records, also by March 2. For both groups, workers are classified as full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers.

OSHA could also require certain businesses to keep records and submit these yearly, no matter their size. Other businesses could be directed to provide information on injuries and illness as required by OSHA. OSHA will set up a secure website for businesses to use when submitting the data. Each company will receive a specific login ID and password; they will have the option of submitting a batch file or direct entry of the information. The public data base will include all relevant information about the injury or fatality, such as the date of the incident, the time of the incident, the type of injury, what happened and more. The person's name will not be included.

A workplace injury can eventually result in permanent disability or even death. The new proposal could improve employee safety. A workers' compensation attorney might be able to help clients pursue financial compensation.

Source: National Law Review, "Occupational Health and Safety Administration "OSHA" Proposes Electronic Submission of Workplace Injuries, Illnesses Data, Plans to Make Information Public", Bradford T. Hammock, Jackson Lewis, December 05, 2013

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