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What will a proposed rule reveal about accidents at work?

There are dangers to many workplaces that lead to injuries. Information about accidents at work has been kept by many employers in physical logs. If a rule proposed by OSHA passes, information regarding accidents at work could become much more widely available to Connecticut residents and to the public as a whole.

The rule, which is entitled "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," would require employers to submit information about workplace injuries and illnesses regularly and electronically. OSHA would then make this information available to the public via a website. The website would exclude specific identifying information about the persons who suffered the injuries and their protected health information. Currently, OSHA does not have the type of access that such a website would provide and information regarding injuries occurring at specific places of employment is not readily available to the public.

The deadline for submitting comments on this rule closed in October, 2014. OSHA anticipates publishing the final rule in August, 2015. Once the rule is final, the website will allow the public to search injury and illness information by employer. The website will include information on the circumstances related to each injury or illness, as well as the title of the injured or ill employee. The website will tally the number of workplace accidents per employer.

This level of public access to information regarding workplace injuries raises concerns about privacy for some who oppose the rule. On the other hand, proponents contend it will improve overall safety. OSHA contends that this information would allow a reduction in workplace hazards by providing data about injuries and illnesses publicly to employers, employees and researchers, among others.

It is important that workplaces are safe places for workers, but, unfortunately, accidents do occur. The website anticipated by this proposed rule could make information regarding these accidents much more available.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rulemaking," accessed April 10, 2015

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