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AG Nessel Supports OSHA Proposed Reporting Rule Aimed at Better Protecting Workers, Promoting Workplace Safety

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in supporting a proposed federal rule that would empower workers and expand public awareness of on-the-job dangers. The proposed rule would require many employers to report more detailed information about workplace injuries and illnesses to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which would then make that information publicly available. 

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh, the 15 participating attorneys general expressed support for the proposed rule, describing it as “a significant improvement” on current reporting requirements.  

The coalition-backed new rule would update current reporting regulations with important new amendments that call for more extensive reporting to OSHA by some employers.   

Among other things, the proposed rule would require certain employers with more than 100 employees in high-risk industries to annually submit three forms to OSHA electronically—the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300), all Injury and Illness Incident Reports (OSHA Form 301), and the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300A).  

The proposed rule would also largely maintain the current requirement that employers with 20 or more employees in certain industries and employers with 250+ employees submit information from the 300A summary form on an annual basis. OSHA would exclude any employee-identifying information and, critically, make the information available to the public electronically.  

The new rule will also empower workers, encourage the improvement of working conditions, and provide for added transparency, the attorneys general note. As the letter observes, such transparency will help state regulators more effectively enforce state labor and workplace safety laws and address workplace hazards, while at the same time increasing understanding of occupational dangers among job seekers, researchers, the general public, and others. 

“It is in the best interests of everyone to elevate workplace safety,” Nessel said. “Requiring employers to more extensively report work-related injuries and illnesses will do just that. In the last 2 years, this country's workers have been through a great deal, so I wholeheartedly support OSHA's proposed rule regarding workplace safety reporting and making that information accessible to a company’s workers, as well as members of the public." 

In the letter, Attorney General Nessel and the other coalition participants stress the limitations of requiring employers to submit only the annual summary information reported on OSHA Form 300A. Far more can be learned, the letter observes, from the information collected on the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300) and the Injury and Illness Incident Report (OSHA Form 301), which certain employers with more than 100 employees in high-risk industries will be required to submit annually under the proposed OSHA rule. 

Specifically, the attorneys general note, these two forms collect detailed, narrative information about each injury or illness. The forms collect information regarding, for instance, what an employee was doing before the accident, how the injury occurred, what the specific injury or illness was, and which part or parts of the employee’s body were affected. The forms also include information regarding where on the premises the injury happened, the job title of the affected employee, and what object or substance directly harmed the employee. 

As the coalition letter notes, these fields paint a detailed picture of the nature and severity of workplace safety incidents and risks more than simply the number of reported cases. 

To increase public access to the data that will be made available by the proposed rule, the attorneys general suggest that OSHA consider requiring designated industries to post information about the availability of the data, conduct outreach programs in collaboration with state  departments of labor and health, and create partnerships with non-profit and non-governmental industries to provide training and outreach. 

The letter also praises the steps OSHA takes in the proposed rule to ensure that workers’ privacy and identifying information is safeguarded.  

The letter was led by New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. Joining Acting Attorney General Platkin in supporting the proposed OSHA reporting rule were the attorneys general of: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.