Client Alerts / 08.25.2016

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Electronic Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

By Melissa A. Yasinow

On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued its final rule on the electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. This new rule will require employers to electronically submit to OSHA its records on employee illnesses and injuries, with different requirements depending upon the employer’s size and industry. For the first time ever, OSHA will publish employer-specific data on a publicly accessible website, although OSHA will not publish information that could be used to identify individual employees.

The new rule also expressly prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report workplace injuries and illnesses, and requires employers to develop and inform employees of the employer’s “reasonable procedure” to encourage employees to promptly and accurately report work-related injuries and illnesses.

Effective Dates

Starting on August 10, 2016, the rule’s provisions concerning injury reporting policies come into effect. OSHA, however, has delayed enforcement of these provisions until November 1, 2016. Nevertheless, the rule is currently in effect, and it requires employers to:

  • Develop reasonable procedures for the prompt and accurate reporting of work-related illnesses and injuries. Per the rule, a procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage employees from reporting injuries or illnesses.
  • Inform employees that (a) they have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and (b) the employer is prohibited from discharging or in any manner discriminating against employees for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.

Starting on January 1, 2017, the rule’s provisions concerning the electronic submission of data become effective. As a result, employers will need to electronically submit illness-and-injury data to OSHA as follows:

  • Large Employers: Employers with 250 or more employees—including part-time, seasonal, or temporary workers—at an establishment will need to electronically submit their Form 300A by July 1, 2017. Forms 300, 300A, and 301 will need to be submitted by July 1, 2018. Finally, starting in 2019 and for each year thereafter, these employers will need to electronically submit all of the aforementioned forms by March 2.
  • High Risk Industries. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in “high risk industries,” such as agriculture, utilities, construction, and manufacturing, must electronically submit their Form 300A on an annual basis. These forms will be due on July 1 for 2017 and 2018. Starting in 2019, and for each year thereafter, the Form 300A must be electronically submitted by March 2.
  • Notified Employers. Even if an employer is not typically required to submit records on annual basis, that employer may be still be required to do so upon demand and notification from OSHA.

Should you have any questions or concerns about how OSHA’s new Electronic Recordkeeping Rule may impact you or your business, contact Rob Gilmore and Alan Rauss of KJK’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.