On May 11, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule related to collection of workplace injury and illness data. This rule helps to modernize injury data collection with the intent to better inform workers, employers, OSHA, and the public about workplace hazards.
Why is OSHA issuing this rule? Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupation Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels describes the reasoning behind the rule as follows: "Our new rule will 'nudge' employers to prevent work injuries to show investors, job seekers, customers and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."
The new rule requires certain employers to submit injury and illness data electronically. This is data they are already required to collect through Forms 300, 301, and 300A, but the electronic format will help improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.
With personally identifiable information removed, OSHA plans to use this data to “create the largest publicly available data set on work injuries and illnesses, enabling researchers to better study injury causation, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities.”
In order for this data to be accurate, employees must feel comfortable reporting injuries and illnesses, with no fear of retaliation. To promote this, the new rule contains three provisions:
- Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. This obligation may be met by posting the OSHA Job Safety and Health — It’s The Law worker rights poster from April 2015 or later.
- An employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and must not deter or discourage employees from reporting.
- An employer may not retaliate against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
Who is impacted by these new requirements? There are 2 groups who must comply:
- Organizations with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation
- Organizations with 20-249 employees in certain high risk industries
The final rule becomes effective January 1, 2017, but the reporting requirements will be phased in over two years. OSHA has outlined the following compliance schedule:
- 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.
- Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
If you have questions about the new OSHA regulations and how they may impact your organization, do not hesitate to reach out to me or another member of the loss prevention team.