The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is launching a new program that aims to simplify reporting of work-related illness and injury, as well as offer more protection for whistleblowers. Most relevant to urgent care operators who provide occupational health services, OSHA will require all work-related injuries and illness to be reported through a new database as of January 1, 2017. The same level of information will still have to be filed annually, but the new database is designed to store the safety records of each employer publicly in a searchable format, with an eye toward provided better data for quality and data research. In addition, greater public access is expected to add another layer of protection for employees who report unsafe conditions and practices at work. OSHA says it will also use the data to target enforcement- and compliance-assistance resources more efficiently. Critics have expressed concern about the security of patient information, but OSHA insists all information will be “scrubbed” of personally identifiable details. Healthcare providers may face challenges because they are also responsible for preventing data breaches of protected health information.
New OSHA Initiative Seeks to Ease Reporting—of Injury and Violations