Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new requirement for so-called “high-hazard” industries to report injury and illness data publicly. This requirement, in an effort to bring transparency to injury and illness data, will include most manufacturing, construction, and transportation companies covered under the rule, among others. The new rule takes effect August 10, 2016.
OSHA cited examples in the food industry, where exposing kitchen sanitary conditions led employers to make improvements. The hope is that bringing specific company injury and illness data to light will encourage companies to make better efforts to prevent these issues.
Some backlash has been noted in the media, claiming the OSHA rule may “shame” companies publicly. Though broad, industry-wide injury and illness data has been available through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the direct link to a company has, thus far, been missing.
This data will provide transparency to issues existing in many workplace environments, but it is yet to be seen how “clean” employer-provided data will be. OSHA may have set up requirements for reporting, but it is unclear how to standardize training and record-keeping across companies. At this point, there is no announcement on intended changes to the injury and illness record-keeping requirements.
The first wave of reporting begins in 2017, and data will be published at a later date.