July 20, 2023

OSHA Announces Rules to Address Injuries and Illnesses Reporting, Clarify PPE in Construction Standard

This week, OSHA announced two rules concerning injury and illness data and personal protective equipment.

In a forthcoming final rule, OSHA will require some employers to electronically submit data on injuries and illnesses to the agency. According to OSHA, these employers are already required to keep the data in question. The rule will affect businesses in high-hazard industries that have 100 or more employees. These employers will also be required to include their legal company name on their electronic submission.

An OSHA press release indicates that the agency will publish some of the data on its website to give workers, job seekers, and the public more information about companies’ health and safety performance. The published information will not personally identify individual workers, OSHA said.

The rule will take effect Jan. 1, 2024. More information about OSHA recordkeeping requirements is available from the agency website.

OSHA also announced a proposed rule yesterday that would clarify the personal protective equipment standard for the construction industry by specifying that PPE must fit each affected worker properly. The proposed change would bring the PPE construction standard into alignment with the PPE standards for general industry and the maritime industry, which already require proper fit.

The announcement referred to the failure of standard-sized PPE to fit smaller workers in construction, including many women.

“PPE must fit properly in order to provide adequate protection to employees,” the proposed rule reads. “Improperly fitting PPE may fail to provide any protection to an employee, may present additional hazards, or may discourage employees from using such equipment in the workplace.”

A pre-publication version of the rule is available from the OSHA website (PDF). Comments on the rule are due to the agency by Sept. 18, 2023.

Related: Read about common challenges women face related to the fit of PPE in the March Synergist.