OSHA Dials Back Electronic Reporting Rule

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

January 29, 2019

Large employers will no longer be required to submit certain workplace injury and illness information to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In a final rule issued January 25, OSHA eliminated its requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year.

However, these large establishments must continue to maintain Form 300 and Form 301 information at their worksites and, like smaller establishments, electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). The final rule also will require covered employers to electronically submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN) with their information from Form 300A.

Under the Obama administration, in 2016, OSHA established new recordkeeping and data collection requirements with the intent to "better inform workers, employers, the public and OSHA about workplace hazards." But now, under the Trump administration, OSHA is paring back those requirements in the name of protecting worker privacy. "By preventing routine government collection of information that may be quite sensitive, including descriptions of workers' injuries and body parts affected, OSHA is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)," the agency said.

The final rule is scheduled to take effect February 25. But the possibility remains that the final rule could be overturned or delayed. A trio of public health advocacy groups has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the final rule on the grounds that "OSHA has failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its change in position, failed to adequately consider comments submitted in opposition to the change, and relied on considerations that have no sound basis in law."