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The Modernization of OSHA: Electronic Reporting of Workplace Injuries

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released a finalized recordkeeping rule that becomes effective January 1, 2017.  Under the final rule, certain employers are required to electronically submit data regarding work-related injuries and illnesses.  Impacted employers are already required to collect and record this data under OSHA regulations.  However, now, this employer injury and illness data will be public.  Once OSHA removes personal identifying information of employees, the data will be posted on OSHA’s website.

As a result of the final rule, employers and employees will now be able to compare work-related injuries with other businesses in their specific industries.  With access to employer-specific data, employers will be able to benchmark their safety and health performance against competitors and other industry businesses. 

Additionally, the final rule prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for making reports of work-related injuries and illnesses.  Specifically, employers are required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.  Employers must also have reasonable reporting policies that do not deter or discourage employees from reporting injuries.  These provisions will be effective 90 days after the rule is published in the Federal Registrar.

The electronic submission requirements will become effective on the following schedules:

Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation are required to electronically submit their 2016 Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) by July 17, 2017.  These employers are required to submit all 2017 forms (Form 300A, Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report)) by July 1, 2018.  Beginning in 2019, the information must be submitted by March 2nd.

Employers with 20-249 employees in specific high-risk industries (e.g.: manufacturing, school and employee bus transportation, waste collection, dry-cleaning and laundry services) are required to electronically submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018.  Beginning in 2019, the information must be submitted by March 2nd.

Employers with fewer than 20 employees do not have to routinely submit electronic information.

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