A final recordkeeping rule, announced by Labor Secretary Elaine Chao June 29, 2001, is the culmination of an effort that began in the 1980s to improve how the government tracks occupational injuries and illnesses. The rule increases employee involvement, creates simpler forms and gives employers more flexibility to use computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements.
“This rule is a big step forward in making workplaces safer for employees, which is our goal,” Chao said. “It is written in plain language and simplifies the employer’s decision-making process.”
However, some aspects of the rule may be put on hold.
The Labor Department will propose to delay for one year the record keeping rule’s definition of “musculoskeletal disorder” (MSD) and the requirement that employers check the MSD column on the OSHA Log. The Department has announced its intention to develop a comprehensive plan to address ergonomic hazards and has scheduled a series on ergonomics. The issues to be decided as a result of these forums include the appropriate definitions of the terms “ergonomic injury” and MSD.
Chao said, “Until a definition is agreed upon, the data collected will not help us target the injuries that need to be eliminated.”