ABC announced its opposition to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule, issued today, which will undo the ABC-supported provisions of the 2019 final rule promulgated under the Trump administration and reprise the 2016 Obama-era rule.
“Unfortunately, the Biden administration is moving forward with a final rule that does nothing to achieve OSHA’s stated goal of reducing injuries and illnesses,” said Ben Brubeck, ABC vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs. “Instead, the final rule will force employers to disclose sensitive information to the public that can easily be manipulated, mischaracterized and misused for reasons wholly unrelated to safety, as well as subject employers to illegitimate attacks and employees to violations of their privacy.
“For open shop construction contractors, these are not hypothetical concerns,” said Brubeck. “Over the years, high-quality, safety-conscious contractors have been targeted by unions and union-front organizations making false or distorted claims of ‘unsafe’ contracting based on isolated incidents taken out of context. The records at issue in the final rule are not reliable measures of a company’s safety record or of its efforts to promote a safe work environment, as they provide no context about the injuries or illnesses reported.”
“Smaller companies will also be negatively impacted by expanding the mandate to establishments with 100 or more employees,” said Brubeck. “The recorded information can easily be backtracked to identify specific injuries and illnesses, and thereby the medical information of individuals in the workplace, violating their privacy.”
The final rule requires establishments with 100 or more employees in certain designated industries to electronically submit information from their OSHA Forms 300 and 301 to OSHA once a year. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries will continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA once a year. All establishments with 250 or more employees that are required to keep records under OSHA’s injury and illness regulation will also continue to be required to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA once a year. OSHA intends to make much of the data it collects publicly available online. The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2024.
These OSHA forms contain sensitive and personal medical information about individual employees, which the government has historically kept private. This includes workers’ home addresses, dates of birth and detailed information about their injuries.
ABC submitted comments to the DOL outlining its concerns in June 2022.