In September, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a draft report criticizing OSHA for not having appropriate controls in place to ensure employers report severe injuries and abate hazards. The September OIG report recommended to OSHA that the agency develop formal guidance and train staff on how to detect and prevent underreporting, consistently issue citations for late reporting, clarify some of its guidance and emphasize the need to conduct inspections for all incidents classified as Category 1.
OSHA pushed back on OIG in its response stating that it is not OSHA’s responsibility to ensure employer’s report injuries, rather it is an employer’s responsibility to do so and that there is no requirement for employers to abate hazards as part of the reporting of severe injuries.
In a separate report issued last month, Top Management and Performance Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of Labor, OIG again criticized the agency for failing to ensure that employers correct hazards when they report severe injuries to OSHA.
“OSHA needs to complete its initiatives to improve employer reporting of severe injuries and illness, and enhance staff training on abatement verification, especially of smaller and transient construction employers. OSHA also needs to complete the development of its evaluation and analysis program.”
OSHA maintains that the only obligation on an employer is to report the appropriate severe injury within the timeframes required by the standard and that there is nothing requiring employers to provide evidence of the abatement of hazards.