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TIA Seeks Comments on OSHA Proposal

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Feb. 6, 2014—The Tire Industry Association (TIA) is seeking comments from all segments of the tire industry regarding a proposal from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to "improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses" in part by making the data available to the public.

According to a TIA press release, during a recent informal public meeting and roundtable with the Agency in Washington D.C., organizations representing labor unions and industry groups spoke on the proposed rulemaking. TIA wants comments that include actual estimates from the tire industry to “demonstrate how much OSHA underestimates the time and effort that will be associated with collecting and submitting data from companies with multiple locations,” a press release said.

"If you read the summary of the proposed rule, it appears that OSHA is only interested in improving the collection of injury and illness data by establishing electronic reporting requirements," said Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president. "However, once you get deeper into the proposal, it becomes evident that the agency believes that public access to the data will somehow improve workplace safety. Now that we have a complete understanding of the proposed rule, we are asking everyone to either submit comments on their own or submit comments to TIA so they can be included with the association's."

OSHA is proposing a change to the injury and illness reporting requirements. Large companies with over 250 employees will have to electronically submit information for each establishment on a quarterly basis, for example. Based on the language in the proposed rulemaking, OSHA is considering collecting the establishment-specific data from three of its injury and illness forms and making most of it public.

The next major change to injury and illness reporting would be requiring all businesses with 20 or more employees in designated industries (which includes tire dealers and retreaders) to electronically submit the annual summary Establishments with 20 or more employees would be submitting injury and illness data every year instead of approximately every three years. All of the information could be made available to the public.

When describing the benefits of the changes, the proposed rulemaking said, "expanded OSHA access to this information … will allow OSHA to use its resources more effectively by enabling the agency to identify workplaces where workers are at greater risk.”

The deadline for formal comments to OSHA is March 8. TIA asks companies to submit quotes or comments to the association by Feb. 28.

The official proposal as it appeared in the Federal Register is available online.

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