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August 12, 2013
New OSHA rule requires federal agencies to submit injury data to BLS

On August 2, OSHA issued a final rule requiring all federal agencies to submit injury and illness data annually to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While federal agencies have been subject to the same recording and reporting requirements as the private sector since 2005, they previously have not been required to submit their data to OSHA or the BLS.

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OSHA says the rule change will allow it to analyze the injuries and illnesses that occur among federal agency workers and develop training and inspection programs to respond to hazards. Federal agencies will be required to include volunteers in their reports and to record their injuries and illnesses in the same way that incidents involving paid employees are recorded.

The rule will take effect in January 2014. Under its terms, by May 1 of each year, federal agencies must submit their injury and illness recordkeeping data from the previous calendar year to the BLS. The data must include all information from:

  • OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (or equivalent);
  • OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report (or equivalent); and
  • OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (or equivalent).

After the BLS receives the data from federal agencies, it will transmit the information to OSHA. Both agencies will use the injury and illness data to carry out important functions. In OSHA’s case, injury and illness figures will be used to develop targeted training and enforcement initiatives. The BLS will use the data to calculate injury and illness incident rates for the federal sector and to aggregate data across industries from both public and private sector workplaces.

Also by May 1, each federal agency is required to submit a report describing the agency’s occupational safety and health program for the previous calendar year to the Secretary of Labor. Previously, the deadline for this report was January 1. The deadline was changed to allow for the incorporation of injury and illness data from the previous calendar year in an agency’s assessment of its safety programs.

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