By Steve Rizer
It will be interesting to see whether the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new, more-stringent requirements for businesses to report the severe injuries occurring in their workplaces will actually make construction sites safer.
OSHA recently issued a rule, slated to go into effect Jan. 1, requiring employers to notify the agency when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. Employers will need to inform OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, the agency’s regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye was not required under the previous rule.
In defending its action, OSHA argued that the rulemaking “will improve access to information about workplace safety and health, with potential benefits that could include [the following]: allowing OSHA to use its resources more effectively by enabling the agency to identify the workplaces where workers are at greatest risk, in general and/or from specific hazards, and target its compliance assistance and enforcement efforts accordingly; and increasing the ability of employers, employees, and employee representatives to identify and abate hazards that pose serious risks to workers at their workplaces.”
Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC) is not so sure. “We are concerned that this change in the way data is collected may be overly burdensome to smaller firms and could result in inaccurate or skewed data that may negatively affect future policies,” Chris Williams, ABC’s director of safety, told ConstructionPro Week.
In the ConstructionPro Network member version of this article, Williams elaborates on ABC's position, and the American Road and Transportation Builders Association weighs in on the rule, too.