OSHA has issued a new rule which requires electronic reporting of injury and illness data that is already required to be recorded on the OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Some of the submitted data will be made public on OSHA’s website (after personally identifiable information is removed). Such publicity is anticipated to encourage employers to improve workplace safety. As OSHA explained, ”[r]eleasing the data in standard, open formats will:
- Encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent worker injuries and illnesses, and, compelled by their competitive spirit, to race to the top in terms of worker safety; and
- Enable researchers to examine these data in innovative ways that may help employers make their workplaces safer and healthier and may also help to identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread
The following information explaining the new rule is contained in OSHA’s Fact Sheet.
The final rule applies to the following:
- Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 — Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, 300A — Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and 301 — Injury and Illness Incident Report.
- Establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A.
These electronic submission requirements do not change an employer’s obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records.
The final rule retains the provision that allows OSHA to collect information from employers that do not submit the information to the Agency on a routine basis. These employers would only be required to submit the data requested upon written notification from OSHA.
The final rule goes on to say that the data will only be accurate if employees feel free to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. Therefore, the new rule contains three provisions to “promote complete and accurate reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses”:
- Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. This obligation may be met by posting the OSHA Job Safety and Health — It’s The Law worker rights poster from April 2015 or later (osha.gov/Publications/poster.html).
- An employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and must not deter or discourage employees from reporting.
- An employer may not retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
These anti-retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016.
On the other hand, the new reporting requirements will be phased in as follows, as detailed on OSHA’s website:
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.
|Anne-Marie Storey | Attorney|
The Graham Building | 84 Harlow Street
P.O. Box 1401 | Bangor, Maine 04402-1401
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