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OSHA extends comment period for electronic reporting proposal

Posted On: Aug. 14, 2014 12:00 AM CST

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended its comment period for a proposed rule that would mandate electronic reporting of workplace safety data after safety professionals and risk managers expressed concern about the proposal.

In a statement Wednesday, OSHA said it will accept comments through Oct. 14, 2014 on a proposed rule that would require employers to submit electronic injury data. Under the proposal, that data would be posted online on a public OSHA website.

Groups such as the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted comments to OSHA earlier this year saying that the proposal would discourage employers from keeping accurate safety data if it's made available to the public.

On Wednesday, OSHA acknowledged criticism from RIMS, ASSE and other groups about the rule.

“OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, in the statement.

OSHA is seeking comments on whether to amend the proposed rule, the statement said. Ideas for changes include requiring companies to tell employees of their rights to report injuries and illnesses and creating a way for OSHA to prohibit employers from punishing employees for reporting accidents.