A proposal by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to increase requirements for companies to report employee hospitalizations is an added burden on employers and will do “little if anything” to improve workplace safety, according to the Joint Poultry Industry Safety & Health Council.

Under current federal rules, an employer is required to file a report with OSHA if three or more employees are hospitalized because of work-related incidents.  OSHA wants to require a report if a single employee is hospitalized.

“It is not unusual for an employee to be admitted for observation or testing and be released the next day without any treatment,” the Joint Council noted.  “This may be due to a minor injury–a slip and fall with a potential head injury that deserves observation as a precautionary measure, for example–that is not indicative of a significant workplace hazard or failure within a safety and health program and may result in unnecessary reporting which will place another reporting burden on the employer while doing little, if anything to improve workplace safety.”

“The current requirement of reporting the hospitalization of three or more employees is generally an indicator that a potentially serious safety incident may have occurred, and prompt reporting of such events is a more reasonable approach and remains justified,” the Council added.  The Joint Council includes members from the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

OSHA says that the additional reporting of hospitalization will allow for the collection of more information on the cause of these injuries and illnesses.  The Joint Council said, however, that the government already collects data on Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers (DART)

“The DART rate, calculated from existing injury and illness data, already identifies those workplaces with frequent, severe injuries,” the Joint Council said.  “We fail to see why this currently available data is not sufficient to meet the goal of identifying ‘the most dangerous workplaces’ and why OSHA needs this type of additional injury data.”

 

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