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RIMS sounds alarm on latest OSHA injury-reporting rules

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The new electronic recordkeeping rule issued by OSHA has drawn concern from the risk management community, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. said Thursday.

Inaccurate safety ratings, reporting redundancies and cyber exposures will result from the new rule on electronic record-keeping of workplace injuries released by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration that takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, the agency said in a statement.

OSHA’s new rule requiring the publishing of employee injuries can increase litigation against an organization and can also be used against an organization by industry competitors, RIMS said in the release.

The organization is also concerned about the ambiguity of the cause of a workplace injury potentially creating misconceptions about an organization’s workplace safety, the statement said.

RIMS also listed OSHA’s web-based reporting application as an issue because of its additional cyber exposures.

Because of the new rules, employers may also stop tracking minor incidents to lower incident rates, RIMS said in the statement.

“Organizations practicing effective risk management track not only injuries resulting in loss of work, but also those injuries which may only require simply first aid treatment,” RIMS said in an official comment letter addressed to OSHA in 2014. “This practice allows an organization to track potential loss trends in order to avoid potentially larger issues. Should employers be required to publicly share this information, they would most likely stop trending these minor incidents in order to appear as if their incident rate is lower and more comparable to other companies,” the letter said.

RIMS plans to continue to work with OSHA as it develops the final electronic reporting process, the statement said.