USA employment briefing – June 2017
8 June 2017
OSHA delays workplace illness and injuries electronic reporting rule
On May 17th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicated that the electronic reporting rules scheduled to go into effect on July 1 are likely to be postponed.
In general, OSHA rules require that employers with more than 10 employees keep records of occupational injuries and illness. Covered employers are required to maintain detailed incident reports, a current log of all reportable incidents as well as prepare an annual summary of covered injuries. Existing rules generally required that the records be retained by the employer for a period of 5 years following the calendar year covered by the records.
In November 2013, OSHA issued proposed rules relating to electronic reporting of injuries. The stated purpose in that proposed rule was “to improve workplace safety and health through the collection and use of timely, establishment-specific injury and illness data.” The proposed rule included provisions for the online publication of certain establishment-specific information. The initial proposal was later supplemented in 2014 in an effort to address certain concerns regarding potential employer retaliation against employees who report injuries.
Revised electronic reporting rules
The revised electronic reporting rules were issued in final form in 2016 and scheduled to be phased in over a 3-year period. The final rules require employers with 250 or more employees and certain employers with between 20 and 250 employees to electronically file certain illness and injury related information. In addition, the final rule included provisions requiring employers to inform employees of their rights to report workplace incidents, to ensure that reporting methods do not discourage employees from making reports and prohibiting retaliation against employees reporting workplace incidents.
The electronic reporting rule was scheduled to go into effect July 1 2017. Covered employers would be required to report applicable 2016 data by July 1 2017, and 2017 data by July 1 2018. Beginning in 2019, reports would be required by March 2 of each year. OSHA anticipated alternative electronic reporting options.
On its website, OSHA posted the following statement:
OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.
The rule is also facing ongoing challenges relating to the online publication of data and the potential impact on post-accident drug testing.