In May 2016, OSHA announced it would be requiring employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA. Employers were already required to record this data; with the new electronic submissions, OSHA would be able to analyze and enforce compliance more efficiently, as well as post some of the data publicly on OSHA’s website. Explaining the purpose of this added transparency, OSHA’s statement read that “OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers, and the general public.” The new OSHA rule on public disclosure was meant to help people stay safe by learning about others’ injuries and illnesses.
Fast forward one year to May 2017, to an entirely different administration with a new Secretary of Labor, and things are markedly different. As well as the Senate and House voting to overturn OSHA’s final rule in late March 2017, OSHA has repeatedly pushed back the deadline for the expanded illness and injury log, from January 2017 to July 2017, and now to December 1, 2017.
At the end of June 2017, OSHA proposed to extend the initial submission deadline to December 1, 2017, to allow the new administration time to review the new electronic reporting requirements before implementation and to let adequate time for companies to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system that will be available August 1. OSHA’s website says:
“The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) will be accessible from the ITA launch page on August 1, 2017, where you will be able to provide the Agency your 2016 OSHA Form 300A information. OSHA has published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically from July 1, 2017, to December 1, 2017." Updates will be posted to the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping.
Current Safety Rules
As the law currently stands, employers are required to record injuries and illnesses within seven days of learning about them and must prepare a year-end summary of those injuries and illnesses. They also must retain these documents for five years. For severe injuries, employers must report any worker fatality within eight hours, and any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours.
What Should Employers Do Amidst the OSHA Ruling Changes?
While the future date for submission is unclear, the best course of action is to still record every illness and injury. According to OSHA, “employers have an ‘ongoing obligation’ to keep and maintain accurate injury and illness records, and that duty does not go away if an employer fails to record an incident.”
OSHA and Graphic Products
Each year, OSHA comes out with the list of Top 10 Violations for the purpose of helping lead safety by example. Safety leader Graphic Products follows suit with a free downloadable guide showing what the violations are for the year. Download the comprehensive, illustrated Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2016 guide to keep helpful information at your fingertips.