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Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses | Photo Credit: iStock- 505469130 | Copyright: Rido

On July 30, 2018 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. These establishments would be required to electronically submit information only from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). In addition, OSHA is proposing to require covered employers to submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN) electronically along with their injury and illness data submission.

Provisions call for employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they already record

Why is OSHA issuing this rule?

This simple change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.

What does the rule require?

The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, 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.

Updated How will electronic submission work?

OSHA has provided a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users are able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users are 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). The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page, where you are able to provide the Agency your 2017 OSHA Form 300A information. The date by which certain employers are required to submit to OSHA the information from their completed 2017 Form 300A is July 1, 2018.

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; 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 has delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Compliance schedule

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

The anti-retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees are only required to provide their 2017 Form 300A summary data. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time. OSHA announced that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the "Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses" final rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data. The Agency is currently drafting that NPRM and will seek comment on those provisions.

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

See answers to more frequently asked questionson the rule.

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