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Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Set to Improve With Final Rule

 Feb 2017

OSHA has recently outlined new provisions for the electronic submission of data recording for injury/illness in workplaces.

OSHA LogoThe change in the rulemaking requirements are intended to improve the safety of workers across the US. A main reason for the change is cited as the importance of understanding human behaviour and motivation – behavioural economic reports reveal that publicly available injury information will encourage employers to positively focus on safety. Ultimately, an increased focus on safety will have a positive effect on injury and illness data as well as a business’ bottom line and it is further anticipated that the regulation will improve data accuracy by offering an assurance that workers should not fear retaliation/retribution for reporting injuries or illnesses.

The new rule, which took effect in January now requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data (that they are already required to record) via an onsite portal. Further analysis of the submitted data will mean that OSHA will be able to enforce and offer compliance assistance resources in a more efficient manner.

While some of the data will be available in the public domain via their website, OSHA believes that this level of disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety records, in doing so, valuable information will be provided to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public alike.

How can I use the electronic submission?

A secure website will be provided by OHSA that offers three options for data submission, allowing users to:

  1. Manually enter data into a webform
  2. Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time
  3. Transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface)

The final version of the site is scheduled to go live in February 2017.

Anti-retaliation

Under the new rule, employers are prohibited from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness, further requiring them to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. This need can be met by posting the (already-required) OSHA workplace poster. Further clarification of a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses incorporating the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses is also provided.

See our news item for more information on anti-retaliation.

These provisions, while they became effective on August 10, 2016, have been enforced from Dec. 1, 2016.

Schedule of compliance

The new electronic reporting requirements will be subject to a phased-in approach over 2 years:

  • Establishments with 250 or more employees (in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation) will be required to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by the 1st July, 2017. It will be mandatory for these employers to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by 1st July, 2018. From 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by the 2nd March.
  • 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. From 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by 2nd March.

OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this final rule within 6 months after publication of this final rule.

Further information and sources:

 

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