Saving time and money while continuing to protect employees and maintain their privacy?
Today, OSHA proposed a new ruling for employers with <250 employees that will:
- Protect worker privacy
- Save money
- Decrease burden employers for multiple filings
- Decrease burden on OSHA
Here is a small sampling of the introduction:
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Part 1904
[Docket No. OSHA–2013–0023] RIN 1218–AD17
Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
OSHA’s regulation at 29 CFR part 1904 requires employers to collect a variety of information on occupational injuries and illnesses. Much of this information may be sensitive for workers, including descriptions of their injuries and the body parts affected.
Under OSHA’s regulation, employers with more than 10 employees in most industries must keep those records at their establishments. Employers covered by these rules must record each recordable employee injury and illness on an OSHA Form 300, the ‘‘Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,’’ or equivalent. Covered employers must also prepare a supplementary OSHA Form 301, the ‘‘Injury and Illness Incident Report’’ or equivalent, to provide additional details about each case recorded on the OSHA Form 300. OSHA requires employers to provide these records to others under certain circumstances, but imposes limits on the disclosure of personally identifying information.1 Finally, at the end of each year, these employers are required to prepare a summary report of all injuries and illnesses on the OSHA Form 300A, the ‘‘Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,’’ and post the form in a visible location in the workplace.
One of the questions brought up is: will doing away with submitting of the 300 and 301 forms increase the temptation for some employers to “hide” an injury. Can they? Let’s think about this.
The OSHA 300, 301, and 300A forms must all be filled out for any work related injury or illness. This proposal does not do away with not filling out the 300 and 301 forms, since they are the basis for submitting the 300 A form. Most medium sized companies, >100 employees, will use electronic forms for filling out OSHA forms. So, again, will not having to submit all of the forms that became mandated in January 2017 truly have a negative impact?
I interviewed a few nurses that we have contracts with to assist with their wellness and first aid. All nurses related the same message: the 300 and 301 forms still need to be filled out. The times OSHA made an onsite visit, they didn't want to look at the 301 forms, stating that it was a privacy issue, and asked the forms to be filed away.
In addition, the interviewees stated that for the soft tissue injuries, OSHA makes visits mostly due to the complaints they receive from employees.
I am not considered an expert on OSHA injury filings at all; however, I feel that companies with less than honest intentions are already “hiding” or limiting an employee injury. This proposal certainly will not increase the temptation for companies to be less than honest regarding their employees’ health and wellbeing.