Food Engineering

OSHA record-keeping rule takes effect

January 1, 2002
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) rule on record-keeping for work place injuries went into effect on January 1 as scheduled.

However, OSHA has postponed three provisions of the rule until January 1, 2003 and established interim criteria for recording cases of work-related hearing loss. The postponed provisions are: the criteria for recording work-related hearing loss; the rule's definition of "muculoskeletal disorder" (MSD); and the requirement that employers check the MSD column in the OSHA log. All other provisions have taken effect.

The final record-keeping rule is the culmination of an effort that began in the 1980s to improve how the Federal Government tracks occupational injuries and illnesses. According to OSHA administrator John L. Henshaw, the rule increases the employee involvement, creates simpler forms and gives employers more flexibility to use computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements.

Copies of the record-keeping forms can be obtained on OSHA's web site at http://www.osha.gov or from the OSHA publications office.

Last fall, the agency launched a major outreach effort to help educate employers and workers about the new changes, while providing assistance in complying with the new record keeping requirements. To aid in that effort, OSHA created a new page on its web site that highlights key provisions and major changes of the new record-keeping rule. The page, at http://www.osha-slc.gov/recordkeeping/index.html, details training programs and provides a fact sheet and other materials designed to assist employers and workers alike.

OSHA's site also lists regional record-keeping coordinators who can advise employers and workers about the new rule and provide training at local levels. States operating their own job safety and health programs can likewise provide training and materials.