Q&A: IOSHA request delayed


From The Truth (Elkhart):

Q: I have submitted a records request to the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace safety data for Elkhart County employers for the past five years. I asked for records on reportable incidents, which means those involving deaths, hospitalizations or injuries to multiple individuals, plus any related citations the agency wrote. Nearly three weeks ago they replied via email saying they would begin working on my request. Now they said there are 63 records requests ahead of mine, and it could be months before they send me the records I have requested. Does that sound reasonable (legal) to you? 

A: I’m guessing that many of the requests ahead of you are probably tied to litigation or potential litigation and are also extensive.

Is “months” unreasonable? I’d tend to say yes. But not knowing the breadth of the requests ahead of you and staff size and duties, I couldn’t say with any certainty.

Make a calendar note to call back in a month to check the status and see how many requests are still ahead of yours.

If it’s still a high number, follow up on IOSHA’s staffing, how many employees are handling records requests, etc. The information might give you basis for a complaint with Indiana public access counselor.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.