Nov 19, 2009

Wisconsin employers pretty conscientious of injury logs for Fed-OSHA

Wisconsin OSHA agents are targeting company injury records under the federal OSHA record-keeping program, said Kim Stille, area director for the Madison OSHA office. Area offices in Wisconsin received a list of companies with injury rates much lower than the industry average, and inspectors now are checking those companies' 2008 records for accuracy, she said.

"Wisconsin has always fared really well in respect to those regulations," - Haag

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is refining its inspection focus in response to evidence that companies deliberately underreport injuries.

But as fears of inaccurate data boil over at the federal level with a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released Monday, regulators in Wisconsin say companies, if anything, have historically reported too many injuries.

"I don't think it's going to affect us too much because I think that Wisconsin employers generally try to be pretty conscientious," said Dona Haag, program and policy analyst for the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene who reviews company injury logs for OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, Stille said, Wisconsin companies have a reputation for reporting too many injuries by logging those that are not required.
...Wisconsin's history in keeping strong OSHA records traces back to a former program called the Wisconsin 200, said Jeff Clark, attorney with Reinhart, Boerner Van Deuren SC, Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin 200 program ended in 1997, Stille said. She said even if the new focus on records does not turn up violations, it can focus company executives on the value of records pointing out where there could be safety problems.

"That's how they should be used," she said, "as a trending or tracking mechanism."

Go to the full story in Daily Reporter VIA Cal-OSHA reporter