The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has introduced a new regulation, which will be implemented from Aug. 10, requiring employers to make all data public regarding injuries and illnesses. Maryland residents may already know that the agency requires employers to keep records of injuries and illnesses, but it says that it and the public receive little to no information about these records.
The new rule, called Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, is a revision of a regulation and requires high-hazard companies to send OSHA their data on injury and illness cases. The agency plans to post it on its website for the public to see. The data that it posts will be void of personally identifiable information. OSHA compares the approach to public transparency of sanitary conditions in restaurant kitchens, which encourages restauranteurs to maintain food safety.
States under the OSHA State Plan will have to adopt the requirements within six months after the final rule is published. Companies will have to submit the required information from 2016 by July 1, 2017, and from 2017 by July 1, 2018. After that, the deadline will move up to March 2 of every year.
According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 3 million workplace injuries or illnesses occur every year. The Department of Labor said in a release that making the data public will allow potential employees to determine which employers have the lowest risk of injury. The department believes that this will make employers prioritize and improve safety programs in order to compete for the best workers.
Workplace accidents can cause a range of injuries, some of which may make the affected employees eligible for temporary or permanent disability benefits under workers’ compensation law. Injured or ill workers might also receive medical and wage loss benefits for injuries or illnesses that arise in the course of employment.