New OSHA Reporting Rule Goes Beyond Reporting
Last month OSHA revised its Part 1904 rule for recording and submitting workplace injuries and illnesses to require some establishments, such as utilities, department stores, and amusement parks, among others, to electronically submit their data. The new rules, which go into effect in August, not only require electronic reporting but also include enhanced employee rights measures.
Companies will be required to electronically submit Form 300A information annually beginning in 2017. OSHA will release an electronic reporting platform before the first deadline, July 1, 2017. For covered employers, only the single-page Form 300A will need to be filed by then.
The more complicated electronic reporting of the Form 300 log of recordable cases and the Form 301 incident reports won’t take effect for another year. To help ensure a smooth submission process, your company should keep these timelines in mind and follow the developments of OSHA’s new systems and file-format preferences as you prepare the necessary documentation.
Enhanced Employee Rights Measures
OSHA incorporated new language in the rule, removing the requirement that an injured employee file an 11c complaint alleging discrimination in the workplace. OSHA compliance officers can now cite an employer based on the officer’s opinion that the employer created a barrier to preventing employees from reporting an injury. This added another enforcement tool against employers who raise real or perceived barriers against employees who wish to report injuries or illnesses.
Specifically, OSHA included three new provisions that will require employers to inform their employees:
- About the procedure to report work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.
- That they cannot be discharged or in any manner discriminated against for reporting a work-related injury or illness.
Companies should keep these provisions in mind when managing employee-reported workplace injury or illness and also should review their existing safety and reporting programs to ensure they comply. For instance, in the rule’s preamble, OSHA discouraged employers from punishing employees for late reporting of injuries as well as implementing rate-based safety incentive programs.
Reported Information Made Public
To encourage more accurate reporting and public- and peer-influenced reductions in injury and illness rates, OSHA intends to post establishment-specific information on its website. It will remove personally identifiable information, but anyone will be able to view and make judgments about any establishment’s submitted data. It is therefore important to ensure that recordable OSHA cases are accurately identified.
OSHA’s new rule presents some challenges to companies, but also opportunities to re-evaluate and optimize existing safety programs and to be seen as a safe and healthy place to work.