OSHA Update – Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Illnesses and Injuries

December 29, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued several new rules changing the requirements for how employers report injuries.

 Electronic Recordkeeping:

Starting in January, “establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must electronically 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 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.” (OSHA)

OSHA’s reasoning behind this is to better allow the administration to better study and analyze data trends and provide resources more efficiently. They are also hoping that by publicly posting workplace injuries and illnesses data employers will be encouraged to improve safety and training.

In order to submit this data electronically employers will need to visit a secure website provided by OSHA, which will go live February 2017. There will be three methods of transmitting this data:

  • The data can be manually entered
  • A CSV file and be imported
  • Employers with an automated recordkeeping system can transmit the information electronically through an API (application programming interface)

Anti-Retaliation Provisions:

The other component of OSHA’s final rule went into effect earlier this month. The rule further promotes their stance that employers must not discourage employees from reporting workplace injuries or illnesses.

The new rule calls for employers to review their current drug and alcohol policies. It is not their intention to ban all post-injury drug testing. Instead they are looking for some indication that employee drug use contributed to the incident. Since not all injuries involve alcohol or drugs, having a blanket post-injury drug testing policy may act as a deterrent for employees trying to report their injuries. Employers should begin implementing reasonable suspicion guidelines into their testing protocol.

Under the rule, employers are also required to inform employees of their right to report incidents free from retaliation. Employers can satisfy this requirement by posting this OSHA workplace poster.

These new rules from OSHA are designed to improve safety for employers while not creating unnecessary burden for employers.

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