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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez

US Department of Labor: Spring Regulatory Agenda 2010

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Topic: Injury, Illness, Fatality, and Exposure Data

This is a new item which was added to the Spring 2010 Regulatory Agenda. OSHA is considering changes to its reporting system for occupational injuries and illnesses. An updated and modernized reporting system would enable a more efficient and timely collection of data and would improve the accuracy and availability of the relevant records and statistics. Currently, employers are required to maintain a rich body of information on occupational injuries and illnesses. However, the vast majority of this information is not collected by OSHA on a systematic basis and it remains in employer files for a five-year period. When OSHA does collect data, the time lag between the occurrence of a given injury or illness and the time the data is used can be substantial. OSHA recently initiated a review of the occupational injury and illness reporting system with the intent of identifying potential improvements.

OSHA is exploring options for developing a system that will be useful for employers and workers, for public health research, for effective targeting of resources, and for identification of emerging hazards. An important aspect of preventing occupational injuries and illnesses is having accurate and timely information about the occurrence of such incidents. OSHA is preparing a proposal to modernize its recordkeeping and reporting requirements so that accurate and timely data are available to more effectively support OSHA's ability to identify and eliminate hazards to workers' safety and health. Stakeholder meetings are scheduled to be held by July 2010.

Background

  • OSHA is responsible for administering and enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The agency oversees health and safety conditions at approximately 8 million workplaces nationally.
  • OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.
  • Section 24 of the OSH Act requires the Secretary of Labor to develop and maintain an effective program of collection, compilation, and analysis of occupational safety and health statistics.
  • Occupational injury and illness records, and the statistics based on them, provide important data useful to employers, employees, researchers, and OSHA enforcement and outreach programs.

Overview of Injury, Illness, Fatality, and Exposure Data

  • Earlier this year, the Labor Department published OSHA’s fatal and catastrophic event data on its web site.
  • In February, OSHA released establishment-specific injury and illness data.
  • Through this rulemaking, OSHA will evaluate and modernize the system for recording and reporting occupational injury and illness data to ensure that it effectively provides the most useful information while avoiding unnecessary paperwork burdens.
  • The rulemaking is still in the early conceptual stage, and OSHA will first be seeking input from stakeholders and exploring options before proceeding to develop a proposed rule.

Benefits of the Injury, Illness, Fatality, and Exposure Data

  • The availability of better data will result in America’s employers and workers make more informed decisions, and will more effectively support OSHA's ability to identify and eliminate hazards to workers' safety and health.
  • In the near future, the Department plans to complement this undertaking by providing public access to OSHA’s illness, injury, and exposure data through a comprehensive, searchable enforcement database.

Stakeholders Affected by the Injury, Illness, Fatality, and Exposure Data

  • The data generated and collected through this initiative will be of great use to employers, workers, unions, consumers, and public health researchers.

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This fact sheet has been developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, DC 20210. Voice phone: 202.693.3200; TTY: 1.877.889.5627.