On May 12, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) posted a final rule in the Federal Register regarding a new recordkeeping requirement for employers. It will have a variety of effects.
The rule’s supposed intention is to improve employer recordkeeping on accidents. They say this will be done by having employers submit electronic accident records that will be published annually. This will “nudge” employers to do a better job of reporting by opening access to these records to everyone. They promise to protect the privacy of employees but not employers.
Records will be open to union organizers
In the summary of the final rule OSHA specifically says “The final rule also amends OSHA’s existing recordkeeping regulation to clarify the rights of employees and their representatives to access the injury and illness records.” Employers are already required to publish their safety records for two full months each year making them available to any employee who wants to see them. Now the electronic publication on OSHA’s website will open each employer’s safety record to an union troll who wants to look for a possible organization target, as if the NLRB was not already making this easier to do.
According to attorneys Megan Baroni and Tavo True-Alcala of the Robinson+Cole Manufacturing Law Blog:
The final rule sets a staggered compliance schedule intended to ease employers into these new requirements. Establishments of over 250 employees will be required to submit their form 300A data from 2016 by July 1, 2017, information from all three 2017 forms by July 1, 2018, and subsequently submit information from all forms by March 2, starting in 2019. Establishments of 20-249 employees have identical submission dates, but are only required to submit the 300A information.
The rule also encourages employees to report injuries to employers free from retaliation and they are hoping employees will access the safety records to a greater extent.
You can find the full final rule here. Every covered employer needs to get ready to start submitting the needed data. Otherwise they may come knocking on your door to get it.