WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through electronic tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses in woodworking and other facilities.

According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, more than 3 million workers were injured on the job in 2012. Of that, wood products manufacturing, including furniture and related products, accounted for more than 37,000 of the total recordable cases.

According to OSHA, the new rule would amend the current recordkeeping regulation to add requirements for electronic submissions of injury and illness information. This is information employers already are required to maintain under existing standards, Part 1904. Workplaces with more than 250 employees will be required to submit the records on a quarterly basis. Companies with 20 or more employees, in certain industries with high injury and illness rates, will be required to submit electronically their summary of work-related injuries and illnesses on an annual basis.

“With the changes being proposed in this rule, employers, employees, the government and researchers will have better access to data that will encourage earlier abatement of hazards and result in improved programs to reduce workplace hazards and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The proposal does not add any new requirement to keep records; it only modifies an employer’s obligation to transmit these records to OSHA,” Dr. David Michaels, assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said in a statement.

Written comments on the proposed rule can be submitted through Feb. 6, 2014. On Jan. 9, 2014, OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule in Washington, DC.

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