OSHA’s New Reporting Rules Take Effect

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
12/01/2016

The “third time’s a charm” applies to even the federal government.  The Department of Labor has not been able to get many ticks in the W column lately with both its Persuader Rule and Overtime Rule getting enjoined from implementation.  Although attempts were made to enjoin these new reporting rules from becoming effective, yesterday, a trial judge denied issuing an injunction against OSHA’s new reporting rules.

So, as of today, employers are required to comply with the nearly 300-page manifesto that is OSHA’s new reporting rule (some of which is effective today, some of which becomes effective January 1, 2017, as explained below).As of January 1, 2017, certain employers will need to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.  OSHA explains that access to and analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently.  I will refrain from the editorial comment I would normally insert after that eye-roll inducing statement.   The amount of data to be submitted varies depending on the size of company and type of industry.

OSHA is to provide a secure website that offers multiple options for data submission.  Per OSHA, the site is scheduled to go live in February 2017.  The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years.  Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the record-keeping 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, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Employers with 20-249 employees in identified 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, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Effect today, the new OSHA record-keeping rule 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, which can be satisfied by posting the already required OSHA workplace poster.   In support of this anti-retaliation stance, the new rule makes explicit that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable, and cannot deter or discourage employees from reporting.  The existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses are incorporated as well.

 

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