Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), one of the largest trade associations in the nation, has officially submitted a request to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), urging OSHA to withdraw a proposed rule that would increase injury and illness reporting requirements. With the new rule, companies in construction and other high-risk industries with between 20 and 250 employees would have to submit an electronic form every year, and companies with more than 250 workers would be required to report quarterly.
ABC believes there is not enough evidence to prove that current OSHA regulations lead to underreporting. OSHA intends to publish the results of the reports publicly in a searchable database and use the information for enforcement purposes. But ABC says that data could mischaracterize businesses in cases where accidents or illnesses are not preventable or result from circumstances that the employer is not responsible for.
As this blog has reported, OSHA is working to implement measures that would hold businesses more accountable by forcing them to promptly report workplace injuries. The Administration intends to begin publishing data publicly in January, and Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels, the head of OSHA, has admitted that its intention is in part to shame companies into reinforcing their security measures by targeting their public perception.
"We believe that the possibility of public reporting of serious injuries will encourage — or, in the behavioral economics term, nudge — employers to take steps to prevent injuries so they're not seen as unsafe places to work," he said last month.
Behavior based safety programs teach employers and workers alike to identify and prevent workplace hazards, ensuring that they maintain a clean record in the eyes of OSHA and the public.