A coalition of state attorneys general, led by New Jersey’s acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, has written a letter supporting OSHA’s proposed changes to their injury and illness recordkeeping rules. The coalition includes New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont
In the the letter, sent on June 27, 2022, the attorneys general for 17 states agree with OSHA’s previous determination that the number of on-the-job injuries and illnesses are “unacceptably high”, with limited information which hinders the ability to focus enforcement and outreach measures. The states feel that the proposed rule would be a “significant improvement” on the current reporting requirements.
OSHA’s current requirements only calls for the electronic submission of a yearly summary of injury and illnesses data, Form 300A, for establishments with 250 or more employees and for those with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries such as agriculture, utilities, construction, and others listed in the Appendix A of 1904.41 Subpart E.
The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2022. The new regulations would require that any establishment with over 100 employees in certain high-hazard industries would have to submit injury and illness data from Forms 300A, 300 and 301 annually. Establishments with more than 20 employees in certain high-hazard industries would have to submit data only from Form 300A. Additionally, the proposed rule requires OSHA to make the de-identified documents electronically available to the public.
The state attorneys general contend that the data submitted from Form 300A can only provide part of the picture. Using information from this form alone, “interested parties” can learn only three things:
- The total number of injuries or illnesses that resulted in death, days away from work, and/or job transfer.
- The total number of workdays missed or restricted.
- The total number of injuries or illnesses, broken into six broad categories: injuries, skin disorders, respiratory conditions, poisoning, hearing loss or “other.”
By including Forms 300 and 301, the information collected includes a detailed narrative regarding the injury or illness including what the injured employee was doing before the accident, how the injury occurred, what the specific injury or illness was, which parts of the body were affected, where in the establishment the injury occurred, the job title of the affected employee, and what object or substance directly harmed an employee. The states attorney general assert,
“This information helps to paint a far more detailed picture of the nature and severity of workplace safety incidents and risks. The proposed rule recognizes the importance of this more detailed information, which will help OSHA and states better target their workplace safety and enforcement programs; encourage employers to abate workplace hazards; empower workers to identify risks and demand improvements; and provide information to researchers who work on occupational safety and health.”
“Requiring employers to provide more detailed reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses will help New Jersey and other states better target our enforcement, awareness, and prevention efforts,” New Jersey acting Attorney General Platkin said in a June 27th press release.