NLBMDA has some words for OSHA

Citing legal concerns, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is urging the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to withdraw "Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," its proposed injury and illness reporting rule.

The rule would increase the frequency with which employers had to report injury and illness data (in new electronic formats), as well as treat the data as public information.

"The release of injury and illness reports could lead to mis-characterizations about an employer's safety record," said NLBMDA president and CEO Michael O'Brien. "OSHA is proposing to release this information without context or clarifications about each incident. This creates the opportunity for, and will likely result in, misuse of the information."

Under the proposed rule, companies with more than 250 employees would have to submit reports on a quarterly basis. Those with 20 or more employees -- and in high-risk industries like LBM -- would have to submit the reports once a year.

O'Brien added that the public posting of the data "would punish good actors and reward bad actors by creating the incorrect presumption that employers with several reports operate with hazardous work conditions and those with few or no records are workplaces with very safe conditions. The opposite is likely to be true because employers that keep meticulous records and diligently report to OSHA are more likely to closely monitor safety conditions and quickly correct any issues that may arise at the workplace than those that fail to report."

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