ARTBA Senior Vice President of Safety & Education Brad Sant expressed the industry’s concerns with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed rule to track workplace injuries and illnesses during a May 1 roundtable hosted by the House Small Business Committee.
Sant addressed three key issues that have been raised by ARTBA members.
First, he said the data requested contains a significant amount of proprietary business information that should not be shared with the public. OSHA intends to post the employer reports for public access on the Internet—less individual employee identification. Making records public has many negative ramifications for businesses, including disclosure of data to individuals and organizations that might use the data to negatively affect the business.
Second, Sant explained that raw safety and health data, absent any background or contextual information, could imply very safe employers have safety problems. Such data, Sant said, could be misinterpreted causing problems such as stock devaluation, increased litigation, and reluctance of some owners to accept bids from contractors that show worker injuries or deaths.
Finally, he noted the proposed reporting requirements are a significant change from the current process, where virtually all employers who maintain internal OSHA records would be required to send those records to the agency electronically. Such a system would be difficult for many small businesses that currently do not maintain electronic records or have automated systems with access to the Internet. The proposed change to the recordkeeping and reporting rules is the second since 2011, showing a “slow creep” in regulatory burdens, he said.
ARTBA will continue to monitor OSHA’s rulemaking activities to ensure our members’ concerns are represented. For more information, contact Brad Sant.