Much like restaurants have to post the grades they receive from health departments about their sanitary conditions, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday issued a final rule requiring employers in highly hazardous industries to send OSHA injury and illness data. The data will be posted on the agency’s public website.
OSHA stressed that such employers are already required to collect and report that data to the agency.
“Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said in a press release.
“Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”
The new rule also promotes an employee’s right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting.
The new requirements take effect Aug. 10, with phased-in data submissions beginning in 2017.
Advocates for the new rule believe it will encourage stricter compliance with workplace safety laws, and may make it easier to identify common occupational hazards, according to Politico. Opponents to the rule, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, contend the new requirements are overly burdensome and “provide special interest groups with information that can be misconstrued and distorted in a manner that does not reflect business’s commitment to the safety of this nation’s employees.”