OSHA Expands Electronic-Recordkeeping Requirements

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Senior Legal Editor

July 17, 2023

More employers will soon be required to electronically submit more detailed information about their workplace injuries and illnesses to the federal government every year.

Under a final rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that will take effect January 1, 2024, establishments with 100 or more employees in designated high-risk industries - including certain sectors of the manufacturing, transportation and agriculture industries - will be required to submit OSHA 300 Log and the OSHA Form 301 incident reports every year. Currently, employers covered by electronic submission requirements - establishments with 250 or more employees and certain smaller establishments in high-hazard industries - are required to submit only the 300A Annual Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, not the more detailed information on the 300 Logs and Form 301.

OSHA also is expanding the list of high-risk industries in which establishments with 20 or more employees must electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summaries.

OSHA estimates that some 52,000 establishments - less than 1% of total establishments in the workforce - will be affected by its new electronic reporting requirements. However, it said the new requirements will cover nearly 800,000 injuries and illness cases each year (or almost 30% of all recordable injuries) and impact workplaces that contain 22 million workers.

OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA requires covered employers to maintain records of their employees' work-related injuries and illnesses on three forms:

Currently, establishments that have 250 or more employees and are required to keep injury and illness records must electronically submit to OSHA data from the Form 300A each year. Establishments with 20-249 employees in another list of high-hazard industries (which is called Appendix A and is broader than the new list of high-hazard industries covering employers with 100 or more employees, known as Appendix B) also are subject to this requirement.

January 1 Changes

Under the new rule, effective January 1, 2024, establishments with 100 or more employees in Appendix B industries will be required to submit not only the summary data from OSHA Form 300A, but also the more detailed information contained in the OSHA 300 Log and the OSHA Form 301 incident reports.

In addition to the list of high-hazard industries that OSHA initially proposed last year, it is adding: logging, hunting and trapping, other furniture-related product manufacturing, miscellaneous durable goods merchants, taxi and limousine services and other support activities for transportation.

Establishments in Appendix A industries with 20 or more employees would be required to submit only the Form 300A data. OSHA claims this requirement will allow it to more effectively target its inspection, enforcement and outreach efforts to the workplaces where employees are at greatest risk.

In addition, OSHA will require establishments to include their company name when making electronic submissions. OSHA intends to post some of the data from the annual electronic submissions on a public website after identifying and removing information that could reasonably be expected to identify individuals directly, such as individuals' names and contact information. It says this will allow workers and the general public to "make informed decisions."

Although OSHA initially had proposed lifting the requirement that establishments with 250 or more employees in industries not included in appendix A submit the information from their OSHA Form 300A, it abandoned that idea in its final rule. Because these establishments are already submitting this information, there is no new burden for employers, OSHA explained. Furthermore, access to this information "provides multiple benefits for workers, Federal and State occupational safety and health agencies, and other interested parties," the agency said.

Affected organizations may begin submitting required data for calendar year 2023 beginning January 2, 2024, via OSHA's electronic portal, known as the Injury Tracking Application. The deadline is March 2, 2024.