OSHA rule would make hospital workplace injury data public

A new final rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on workplace injuries will require hospitals and healthcare organizations to release injury data that will later be posted on the agency's website.

Under the rule, businesses with at least 250 employees must submit work-related injury data. The rule also applies to businesses with between 20 and 249 employees in "high-hazard" industries, which encompasses much of the healthcare sector.

The new requirements apply to ambulatory care services, surgical and general medical hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, nursing care facilities and residential care facilities. All employers, independent of size, must establish procedures for work-related injury and illness reporting, with an unreasonable procedure defined as one which "would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness."

Rules have long been on the books that require injury reporting, but the new OSHA rule goes above and beyond in its public reporting requirement. OSHA has recently stepped up its scrutiny of workplace hazards in the healthcare industry specifically, announcing a plan to step up occupational risk regulation last summer, FierceHealthcare previously reported. This followed an OSHA report last April that found injuries associated with workplace violence nearly doubled for nurse assistants and nurses between 2012 and 2014.

The new rule takes effect August 10, with phased in data submissions beginning in 2017.

OSHA officials said in an announcement that the data will help them create the largest publicly available data set on work injuries and illnesses, which will help researchers better study the causes of injury, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities. 

To learn more:
- read the final rule (.pdf)
- here's the announcement