OSHA Seeks to Modify Electronic Reporting, Releases Silica Resources

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would remove provisions of a rule that requires companies to make all of their injury and illness data public to better protect personally identifiable information. The organization also released new guidance for employers and workers on requirements for its silica standard through an updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) page and six new training videos.


The “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule, which OSHA introduced in May 2016, has faced several legal challenges. Additionally, a number of industry organizations have opposed the regulation. OSHA also has delayed enforcement on a couple of occasions.

According to OSHA, the proposal maintains safety and health protections for workers, protects privacy and reduces the burdens of complying with the cur-rent rule. The proposed rule eliminates the requirement to submit information electronically from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). This applies to establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records electronically. Establishments would only be required to submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) electronically.


OSHA says it’s working to make its silica rule easier for companies to com-ply with by releasing online resources such as videos and FAQs.

The videos instruct users on methods for controlling exposure to silica dust when performing construction tasks or using construction equipment.

The 53 listed FAQs address:

  • Scope;
  • Definitions;
  • Exposure control methods;
  • Housekeeping;
  • Written exposure control plans;
  • Medical surveillance;
  • Employee information and training; and
  • Recordkeeping.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, OSHA cited 117 violations in the first six months of silica rule enforcement for the construction industry. As of April 23, 2018, there were 35 cited violations for failure to conduct an assessment of worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica. There were 31 cited violations for failing to adhere to the Table 1 list of equipment/tasks and OSHA’s required engineering and work control methods. The third highest violation category was for lack of a written exposure control plan, for which OSHA cited 20 violations.

Writing Effective Safety Materials

Safety is an important focus for glass industry companies, but it can be S difficult to write safety materials effectively for all employees. The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) hosted a webinar titled, “Wait, What? Construction Safety Materials that Everyone Can Understand.” CPWR’s communications research manager Clayton Sinyai explained how to write and create effective safety materials for employees.

The safety materials should have one main focus, and should be outlined with an easy layout and subheaders. Incorporating easyetoefollow illustrations will en’ sure that the message is delivered for those workers who cannot comprehend the written instructions.

Sinyai highlighted four main questions to ask when writing safety materials:

1. Who is the primary audience?

It is hard to write effectively for every single reader. Sinyai says to only focus on the primary audience.

2. What are the primary audience’s reading skills and background knowledge?

Can they all read? If some workers have a hard time understanding English, be sure to inclucle illustrations.

3. What should workers be doing?

Should they remember to drink more water, take breaks, wear light clothing, etc.?

4. What is the main message?

This should appear prominently at the beginning and end of the handout. If subheaders are included, they should reiterate the message.

Sinyai suggests starting with a summary. This way if a worker only reads the summary, he or she will still receive the basic message. Lastly, test the materials out on the target audience if possible. Since they will be the ones using the material, it will be useful to get their feedback.

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