On May 25, 2016 I published a blog post called OSHA establishes publication rules to “nudge” employers. Well the time has come for that rule to be effective. On January 1, 2017 the “nudging” becomes a big push. Are you ready?
What has to be published?
According to OSHA as of “Jan. 1, 2017, [OSHA]requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.” This is covered employers who have 250 or more employees. According to the guidance:
OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users will be able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users will be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). The site is scheduled to go live in February 2017.
In addition to this electronic, and very public, recording of accidents and illnesses, the new regulation also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. This however can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. The new regulation also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016, and went into effect Dec. 1, 2016. An example of this is a reward program that gives out a big prize for no lost-time days that might discourage an employee from reporting an injury near the end of the year.
Small employers get a one year reprieve
The compliance schedule for the new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:
- 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.
So this year if you are a covered company of over 250 employees as you publish your OSHA 300 log you need to be prepared to report that information electronically by July 1, 2017.
Use of the information
This information will be available to interested parties, which include the government for enforcement reasons, but also unions. If you have a poor safety record and are frequently cited you become a target for union organization on the basis of trying to make your workplace a safer one. So a word to the warning.