The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is reminding employers with 11 or more employes that public accounting must be made in February of job-related injuries and illness in their establishments last year.

By Feb. 1, such accountings must be placed where notices to workers normally are posted. Firms with 10 or fewer workers are exempt.

Incidentally, the much-criticized OSHA came under renewed attack by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week -- but only a few hours.

A Senate Government Affairs Committee issued a final study on federal regulation, concluding that any new rules proposed should be backed up with estimated costs and benefits, a view that business people support.

What attracted the chamber to this document, however, was an inaccurate wire service report that said the committee called for a massive overhaul of the 7-year-old OSHA. In an immediate response (to the wire story, not the Senate report), the U.S. chamber called the press and issued a six-paragraph statement that "hailed a new study... we are encouraged that the study apparently recognizes the bureaucratic excesses of OSHA."

At least one reporter told the chamber that the Senate panel made no such recommendation but the business group's response was huckstered, nevertheless.

On the following day, there was a brief "note to editors" on the press relations wire, from the chamber. It said: "Please disregard U.S. Chamber of Commerce release sent late yesterday..." The business group had discovered what happened -- that a separate study by two professors on OSHA was printed as an appendix to the final report with a committee disclaimer that no conclusions or facts had been approved, disapproved or even considered by the committee.

The OSHA study was a "background paper" by Harvard professors Richard Zeckhauser and Albert Nichols, who said there is no evidence OSHA has reduced jobrelated injuries and that the government should abandon efforts to set standards for job safety in favor of an approach that would try to give employers incentives for making work places safer, the Associated Press reported.