Today's NewsThe tightly-knit Washington OSHA subculture will be out in force this Thursday no matter what the wind-chill factor is to attend an all-day (9-4:30) hearing at the Labor Department set up to, in Washington-speak, “allow interested parties to comment on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA's proposed rule amends its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information employers are already required to keep under existing standards.”

Note the press release says nothing specifically about the most controversial aspect of the proposal, the plan to make accessible to the public each worksite’s injury and illness records, including details about accidents resulting in injuries or deaths. That is what has attracted almost all of the 138 comments sent in to OSHA, with more on the way: OSHA has extended the public comment period until March 6, 2014.

A sampling of comments:

● “As a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers for fifty seven years, I most sincerely wish to go on record as being opposed to this proposed regulation as it...”

● “As an employer, I am fine with having all OSHA forms be reported quarterly in an electronic format. However, I don't feel that it is effective or fair to publish results publically...”

Comment from Mark Costello, Commissioner of Labor, State of Oklahoma:

● “I strongly oppose this rule change as the proposal seems to be more about politics rather than public safety policy.

“The experimental idea of OSHA using ‘naming and shaming’ as a means to improve safety is unwise. The unintended consequences are likely to do more harm than good. It’s the functional equivalent of painting a scarlet letter on individual businesses while creating a pick list for trial lawyers nationwide.

“The dearth of private sector appointees in the Obama administration is evident in this proposal. There is no evidence that the bureaucrats who promulgated such rules have ever started, owned, or operated a business…

“This proposed regulation is a federal government overreach that will invite distortion of a company’s safety record and encourage unions, trial lawyers, and other adversaries of the marketplace to use the data against the backbone of the economy, American businesses. The proposed use of data does not tell the full story about the circumstances surrounding an injury and efforts to prevent such injury by the business owner.

“As President Ronald Reagan once joked, “I’m from the government, I’m here to help.” This dubious proposal and its’ hostility towards the private sector is no joke. I call for a stand-down on this proposal.”

● “I will be speaking in support of the proposed rule, the UFCW’s experience with large establishments and electronic records, the usefulness of the type of data OSHA will be obtaining, illustrated by our own database for one industry and the need for continued vigilance through OSHA inspections for accuracy of injury and illness records.”
Jackie Nowell

● “We would like the opportunity to speak about the importance of and uses for good occupational injury and illness data as well as safeguards needed to ensure that changes brought about by this rule will not promote the suppression of workers' injury and illness reporting.”

James Frederick
Assistant Director
Health, Safety and Environment Department
United Steelworkers International Union

● “I will be speaking in support of the proposed rule, the utility of the information to OSHA, employers, workers and the public and the need to include provisions to ensure that the reporting rule does not suppress injury reporting.”
Peg Seminario
Director Safety and Health

● “I am opposed to the enactment of this proposed regulation as it does not advance safety. Instead, it will create unwarranted public criticism of safety professionals and our...”

It’s been years since an OSHA action has drawn the line-up of interest groups that will sit in on Thursday’s meeting, including:

 Public Citizen's Congress Watch

American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)

National Safety Council

UFCW International Union

NYS Laborers Health & Safety Fund

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Change to Win
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)


Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

SBA Office of Advocacy

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health

National Utility Contractors Association

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

 International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE)

 Industrial Minerals Association - North America (IMA-NA)

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

 U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Coalition for Workplace Safety

National School Transportation Association

Precision Machined Products Association

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

Manufactured Housing Institute

Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI)

International Association of Drilling Contractors

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC)

American Public Power Association

Thomas Lawrence, CSP

Tucson Airport Authority

American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI)

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)

International Warehouse Logistics Association

Alabama Power Company

 Lockheed Martin Corporation

Proctor & Gamble

Sprint Corporation

Delta Air Lines

US Airways

The American Foundry Society

Edison Electric Institute

National Rural Electric Cooperative Assoc

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA)

Independent Bakers Association

Tire Industry Association

National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA)

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)