New OSHA Recordkeeping Rule In Effect As Of January 1, 2017 Featured

  04 January 2017

In May 2016 the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacted a final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The final rule calls for employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they already record.

 

Below is an overview of the final rule.

 

General Requirements

 

The new rule requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry.

 

Electronic Submission

 

OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users will be able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users will be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface).

 

Anti-Retaliation Protections

 

The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, which can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. It also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting, such as automatic drug testing after every workplace injury; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA delayed their enforcement until December 1, 2016. An FAQ on these provisions is available here. 

 

Compliance Schedule

 

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:

Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

 

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

 

OSHA State Plan states, such as California, must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this final rule within 6 months after publication of this final rule. Read more here. 

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