OSHA Issues Final Recordkeeping Rule Requiring Electronic Submissions

Author: Marta Moakley, XpertHR Legal Editor

May 20, 2016

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final rule regarding injury and illness data collection and recordkeeping.

OSHA's stated intent is to "better inform workers, employers, the public and OSHA about workplace hazards." Although employers already must keep a record of injuries and illnesses, this information is not available publicly. OSHA would access the information as part of an inspection or under a written request. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data for posting on the agency's website. OSHA will remove personally identifiable information associated with the data before it is publicly accessible.

Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulations must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. Smaller employers with 20-249 employees in certain industries (e.g., agriculture, construction and manufacturing) must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only. Finally, any covered employer from which OSHA makes a written request for data must also submit the information electronically. (OSHA regulations require employers with more than 10 employees in most industries to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses at their establishments.)

The rules focus on internal reporting procedures as well, including employee retaliation protections. The final rule:

  • Promotes an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation;
  • Requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses; and
  • Clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage reporting.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels stated in the agency's press release, "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities."

The new requirements take effect August 10, 2016, with phased-in data submissions beginning in 2017. Specifically:

  • Retaliation protections take effect August 10, 2016;
  • 2016 OSHA Form 300A logs are due for large employers and smaller employers in high-risk industries on July 1, 2017;
  • 2017 OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are due for larger employers and OSHA Form 300A logs are due for smaller employers in high-risk industries on July 1, 2018; and
  • On March 2, 2019 (and due annually thereafter on March 2), the prior year's OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are due for larger employers and OSHA Form 300A logs are due for smaller employers in high-risk industries.

In order to ensure compliance, employers should:

  • Review internal injury and illness reporting and processing procedures and revise them as needed;
  • Display the latest version of OSHA's poster; and
  • Foster a culture of integrity that promotes information sharing.