OSHA Issues Supplemental Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking To Improve Reporting And Tracking Of Work-Related Injuries And Illnesses


On August 14, 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (supplemental notice) that is intended to improve the reporting and tracking of work-related injuries and illnesses. 79 Fed. Reg. 47605. OSHA issued the supplemental notice as a follow up to its November 08, 2013, proposed rule that would amend OSHA’s regulation on the annual injury and illness reporting requirements by adding three new electronic reporting obligations. 78 Fed. Reg. 67254. During the comment period on the November rule, some stakeholders expressed concern that the proposal could motivate employers to under-record injuries and illnesses and that the proposal could promote workplace policies and procedures that deter or discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. To protect the integrity of the injury and illness data, the supplemental notice extends the comment period on this issue for 60 days, until October 14, 2014. The supplemental notice also seeks comment on 14 specific questions:

  • Are you aware of situations where employers have discouraged the reporting of injuries and illnesses?
  • Will the fact that employer injury and illness statistics will be publically available on the internet cause some employers to discourage their employees from reporting injuries and illnesses?
  • Are you aware of any studies or reports on practices that discourage injury and illness reporting?
  • Do you or does your employer currently inform employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses?
  • Are there any difficulties or barriers an employer might face in trying to provide such information to its employees?
  • How might an employer best provide this information?
  • What procedures do you or does your employer have about the time and manner of reporting injuries and illnesses?
  • Are you aware of any examples of reporting requirements that are unreasonably burdensome and could discourage reporting?
  • How should OSHA clarify the requirement that reporting requirements are reasonable and not unduly burdensome?
  • Are you aware of employer practices or policies to take adverse action against persons who report injuries or illnesses?
  • Are you aware of any particular situations where an employee decided not to report an injury or illness to his or her employer because of a fear that the employer would take adverse action against the employee?
  • What kinds of adverse actions might lead an employee to decide not to report an injury or illness?
  • Are there any employer practices that OSHA should explicitly exclude to ensure that employers are able to run an effective workplace safety program?
  • What other actions can OSHA take to address the issue of employers who discourage employees from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses?

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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