OSHA Delays Effective Date of Recordkeeping Rule Provisions

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will delay for one year the effective date of three provisions of its recordkeeping rule and establish interim criteria for recording cases of work-related hearing loss.

The provisions, postponed until January 1, 2003, are: the criteria for recording work-related hearing loss; the rule's definition of "musculoskeletal disorder" (MSD); and the requirement that employers check the MSD column on the OSHA log. All other provisions of the rule become effective on January 1, 2002.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for employers to accurately document workplace injuries and illnesses," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "In order to do that, we have to evaluate these criteria and determine the best way to identify and record these particular cases."

The final recordkeeping rule is the culmination of an effort that began in the 1980's to improve how the government tracks occupational injuries an illnesses. The rule increases employee involvement, creates simpler forms and gives employers more flexibility to use computers to meet OSHA regulatory requirements.

OSHA will issue new recordkeeping forms that have been modified to remove the MSD and hearing loss columns from the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and the OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. The instructions accompanying the forms have also been modified to reflect the requirements that will take effect in calendar year 2002.

Copies of the forms can be obtained on OSHA's web site at www.osha.gov or from the OSHA publications office.

The agency will carry out a major outreach effort to help employers and workers understand the new changes, while providing assistance in complying with new recordkeeping requirements. To aid in that effort, OSHA launched a new page on its web site that highlights key provisions and major changes of the new recordkeeping rule. The page, at www.osha-slc.gov/recordkeeping/index.html, details training programs and provides various materials designed to aid employers and workers alike.

Information on OSHA's decision to delay the effective date regarding hearing loss and MSD issues was published in the Friday, October 12, Federal Register.

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