Last year, the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA), issued a rule that requires certain employers to electronically submit on-the-job injury and illness information. In keeping with its responsibility to improve safety for workers, the change seeks to focus more attention on safety through transparency in reporting practices and to ensure that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.
The new rule which took effect on January 1, 2017, initially required employers to electronically submit annual injury and illness data from 2016 on Form 300A to OSHA by July 1, 2017. Prior to that date, OSHA extended the deadline to December 1, 2017. In late November of 2017, this date was extended yet once again. OSHA is providing three options for electronic data submission. Users will be allowed to manually enter data via webform, upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments all at once, or the ability to transmit data electronically through an automated application programming interface (API).
The reporting rule also incorporates additional anti-retaliation protection, which prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting injuries or illnesses. The new rule further clarifies existing requirements that an employer’s reporting procedures must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting injuries and illnesses. Employers are required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. And, under the new rule, OSHA can pursue retaliation claims against an employer even if no worker files a retaliation complaint.
The new anti-retaliation requirements became effective on August 10, 2016, and enforcement by OSHA commenced on December 1, 2016. Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the record-keeping regulation must submit data from their 2016 Form 300A by December 15, 2017. These same employers are required to submit data from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018, and thereafter beginning in 2019 by March 2. Establishments with 20-249 employees in fields categorized as high-risk industries, such as the construction field are required to submit injury and illness data on this same schedule. Employers are urged to comply with these new regulations to avoid fines and penalties.