On May 11, OSHA issued a final rule modifying the record-keeping regulations. The final rule takes effect in August of 2016. The highlights of the final rule include:
- Requires all employers with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Form 300A electronically.
- Requires all employers with more than 20 employees in high-hazard industries to submit OSHA Form 300A electronically (these can be found by NAICS code in an appendix to the final rule).
- The submission deadline for the prior year data in 2017 and 2018 is July 1.
- The submission deadline for the prior year data after 2019 is March 2.
Above and beyond the procedural changes, the final rule includes strong anti-retaliation language. For example, the final rule includes a requirement that injury/illness reporting procedures are not reasonable if they deter or discourage employees from reporting. This language may interfere with employer incentive programs designed to reward employees for preventing work-related injuries or illnesses under the theory that such an incentive plan discourages reporting. The final rule also contains a requirement for employers to provide notice to employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses along with notification that the employer will not take negative action against an employee for such reporting.
The purpose of the electronic submission process seems to be driven towards OSHA posting employer specific data on its website as an education/outreach tool. In addition, it will allow OSHA easier access to injury/illness data for its own analysis purposes internally. It is likely this more readily accessible information will be used to steer future enforcement strategies and actions by OSHA.
Stay tuned for further developments as this final rule may face legal challenge which could delay its implementation.