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Rep. Frederica S. Wilson Applauds OSHA for Finalizing Rules to Improve Worker Safety and Increase Transparency

Today the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing titled “Promoting Safe Workplaces Through Effective and Responsible Recordkeeping Standards” to examine OSHA’s recordkeeping and anti-retaliation rule issued by Department of Labor on May 12, 2016.

Since January 1, 2015, OSHA has required employers to report within 24 hours any work-related amputations, in-patient hospitalizations, or loss of eye, in addition to an already existing requirement to report fatalities within eight hours.

On May 12, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule that requires large and high-hazard employers to electronically transmit these reports to OSHA to be posted to its web site, but the public will not be able to access personally identifiable information. The rule also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who report their injuries.

“OSHA is tasked with inspecting facilities with workplace injuries, monitoring the frequency with which on-the-job injuries and fatalities occur, and working with businesses to improve safety outcomes. Given its limited resources, OSHA’s job is not easy. In my home state of Florida, it would take the 63 inspectors we have 266 years to inspect each workplace,” said Ranking Democrat Frederica S. Wilson. “That is why the new recordkeeping rule requiring large and high-hazard employers to electronically transmit workplace injury and illness information to OSHA is so important. This rule will help OSHA work with employers to identify workplace hazards and prevent future injuries. Responsible employers will be able to demonstrate to their employees, investors and the public that they are committed to workplace safety.”

Testifying on behalf of the American Public Health Association, Rosemary Sokas, M.D., also expressed support for the new rule, which she said will “bring injury and illness reporting into the 21st century” and enable OSHA and employers to work together to develop better health and safety protections and industry-wide solutions.

“The goal of OSHA’s updated recordkeeping approach is to prevent fatal and non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Transparency helps improve data accuracy, and accurate information will be invaluable for employers, workers and public health researchers and others interested identifying sources of injury and illness and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to prevent injury and illnesses,” Dr. Sokas said.

“Those who denounce this rule as bad for business should ask themselves this,” added Rep. Wilson. “If they or someone they care about were applying for work at a business with a poor safety record, wouldn’t they want to know what’s at stake?”