U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director David Michaels said the agency's new regulation requiring employers in hazardous industries to submit injury and illness data will allow "researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer." Credit: U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Thousands of employers in hazardous industries will be required to electronically submit injury and illness information that federal workplace safety officials will make available online, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday.

Currently, employers are required to log injuries and illnesses and the number of days injured workers spend away from work. But they are not required to send them to OSHA.

“Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer,” David Michaels, OSHA’s director, said in a statement.

Beginning in 2017, companies with at least 250 workers in industries such as construction and manufacturing must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness logs. Smaller employers will be required to submit more limited data to the agency.

Under the new regulation, employers must have a procedure for workers to report injuries without fear of retaliation.

The new regulation is part of a push by President Barack Obama for labor reforms that would expand the availability of overtime pay and limit workers’ exposure to silica and other carcinogens.

Jennifer Gollan can be reached at jgollan@cironline.org. Follow her on Twitter: @jennifergollan.

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Jennifer Gollan is an award-winning reporter. Her investigation When Abusers Keep Their Guns, which exposed how perpetrators often kill their intimate partners with guns they possess unlawfully, spurred sweeping provisions in federal law that greatly expanded the power of local and state police and prosecutors to crack down on abusers with illegal firearms. The project won a 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and has been nominated for a 2022 Emmy Award.

Gollan also has reported on topics ranging from oil companies that dodge accountability for workers’ deaths to shoddy tire manufacturing practices that kill motorists. Her series on rampant exploitation and abuse of caregivers in the burgeoning elder care-home industry, Caregivers and Takers, prompted a congressional hearing and a statewide enforcement sweep in California to recover workers’ wages. Another investigation – focused on how Navy shipbuilders received billions in public money even after their workers were killed or injured on the job – led to tightened federal oversight of contractors’ safety violations.

Gollan’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Guardian US and Politico Magazine, as well as on PBS NewsHour and Al Jazeera English’s “Fault Lines” program. Her honors include a national Emmy Award, a Hillman Prize for web journalism, two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, a National Headliner Award, a Gracie Award and two Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing awards. Gollan is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.