Simpler, easier to follow requirements for tracking workplace injuries and illnesses are now in force for 1.4 million employers covered by OSHA's new recordkeeping rule. The new system officially took effect January 1.

The new recordkeeping system is designed to be easier for employers to understand, better protects employee privacy in sensitive cases and utilizes smaller, more manageable OSHA forms that fit on legal-size paper. Instructions for filling out the forms have also been simplified.

In December, OSHA mailed forms to employers likely to be covered by the rule. OSHA's Web site,, offers new recordkeeping forms, training materials, fact sheets and other assistance to help employers make the transition to the new system. Employers can also access the web version of a satellite training broadcast the agency aired on December 12, 2001.

As employers switch from the old recordkeeping system to the new one, they will need to post their 2001 summary of injuries and illnesses during the month of February. Beginning in 2003, the annual summary is to be posted for three months - February, March and April.