Dec. 16 --Employers with as few as 50 workers at multiple worksites could
be required to submit company-wide injury and illness information to the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration as part of the agency's proposal to rewrite its recordkeeping regulations.
The possible mandate is among the ideas up for discussion Jan. 9 when OSHA
holds a public meeting on the agency's proposed revisions to how and when
employers must submit their injury and illness reports. The agency is accepting
written comments through Feb. 6.
The company-wide idea would require
enterprises to collect OSHA Form 300A data from each of their establishments
that are required to keep injury and illness records and then submit to OSHA
the data for each establishment.
OSHA doesn't require employers to collect or submit what the agency calls
“enterprise-wide” information. Instead, OSHA requires individual
“establishments” to keep injury and illness logs and submit the information
when requested by OSHA.
For example, a large retail store chain isn't
required now to collect or submit data for the entire chain to OSHA. However,
the company's individual stores, warehouses and distribution centers are
mandated to keep records and provide them to OSHA upon request.
OSHA announced its potential recordkeeping changes on Nov. 8, the agency
didn't emphasize the enterprise-wide alternative.
proposal, which covers three-plus pages in the 30-page Federal Register notice
(78 Fed. Reg. 67,271), wasn't mentioned in OSHA's press releases or the
statement by OSHA administrator David Michaels.
emphasized parts of the proposed changes in which establishments with 250 or
more workers would be required to submit quarterly, through a website, the
data from their OSHA logs. Employers in high-hazard industries with 20 more
workers would have to submit information from Form 300A annually.
would then post the numbers on its public website, minus information that
could identify individual workers.
Although OSHA listed enterprise-wide
reporting an “alternative,” interested parties should treat the idea the same
as the changes in the proposal highlighted by OSHA, industry attorney Nickole
Winnett, an associate with Jackson Lewis PC, told Bloomberg BNA Dec. 16.
“I definitely could see OSHA including this in the final rule,” Winnett
The proposal fits in with OSHA's emphasis on corporate-wide
settlements, often involving establishments where no violations have been
cited, Winnett said. OSHA could use the enterprise-wide data to target
inspections of companies with high rates, an approach that could send
inspectors to establishments with low rates because other establishments have
OSHA sees several
advantages to gathering corporate-wide data.
“First, the provision would
improve employer awareness and oversight of workplace safety and health at the
enterprise level,” OSHA said in its Federal Register notice announcing the
rule. “Many multi-establishment enterprises already collect and analyze
establishment-level injury and illness data, but many do not.”
the enterprise-wide data would make it possible for OSHA to calculate
corporate-wide injury and illness rates, the notice said. By using
enterprise-wide data, OSHA could identify employers with high rates and large
numbers of injuries and illnesses and work with them to lower the rates.
There are numerous issues OSHA would have to
resolve before it releases a rule that includes enterprise-wide reporting, the
Among them is defining “enterprise.” OSHA's recordkeeping
rule, 29 C.F.R. 1904, doesn't define enterprise, the OSHA notice said.
The Census Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have
definitions for enterprise, the notice said. While both agencies agree an
enterprise is a business with multiple establishments, they have different
methods for defining whether the establishments are under common ownership of
OSHA also needs to decide
how large an employer would have to be to trigger the enterprise-wide
reporting requirement. OSHA's notice suggested the mandate would apply only to
enterprises with ownership or control of five or more establishments in the
In addition, the agency would have to decide the number of
employees at an enterprise or establishment that would trigger the reporting
requirement, the notice said. As examples, the notice said OSHA could exempt
enterprises with fewer than 50 workers and establishments with 10 or fewer
According to the notice, the business information service Dun
& Bradstreet told OSHA in 2012 there were 28,127 enterprises with at least
five establishments subject to OSHA recordkeeping requirements. Altogether, the
enterprises control 291,425 establishments with 11 or more workers.
for the cost to employees, OSHA estimated that if establishments with 11 or
more workers were included, the annual expense for employers will be $2.6
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The Federal Register notice is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=rdae-9egm3k.
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