For several years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has required specific industries to record and post workplace injury and illness data annually. A new rule scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2017, will require specific industries to also report some of the injury and illness data electronically to OSHA each year. The goal is to encourage increased efforts to reduce injuries and to provide researchers with injury data that can be used to develop ways to improve workplace safety. This information will also give OSHA access to data that will help them recognize hazards more quickly and help employers develop corrective actions to reduce hazards.
Key information for 2017:
- Employers with 20 or more employees who are required to keep and post 2016 injury information will be required to electronically submit Form 300A to OSHA by July 1, 2017.
Key information for 2018:
- Employers with 20 to 249 employees who are required to keep and post 2017 injury information will be required to electronically submit Form 300A to OSHA by July 1, 2018.
- Employers with 250 or more employees who are required to keep and post 2017 injury information will be required to electronically submit Forms 300A, 300, and 301 to OSHA by July 1, 2018.
In 2019, the submission deadlines will change from July 1 to March 2.
Employers must inform employees of their right to report illness and injuries, and the procedures for reporting must be reasonable and not discourage or deter employees from reporting. Employers may not retaliate against employees for reporting injuries. Several groups of employers have raised concerns with these provisions.
- Many employers have post-accident drug testing programs, and they are concerned that OSHA may consider this discouraging employees from reporting injuries. OSHA wants to discourage drug testing for all workplace incidents. OSHA believes drug testing should be limited to situations where the employer believes that drug use has contributed to the injury, and the drug test can indicate whether the worker was impaired at the time of the incident.
- Some employers have safety incentive programs that reward employees for not reporting injuries. Employers are concerned that OSHA may consider these programs as encouraging workers not to report injuries. OSHA prefers incentive programs that encourage employees to participate in hazard identification or safety program activities.
- Disciplinary policies that use injury reports as the basis for discipline, performance, or promotion decisions may not be acceptable to OSHA.
These provisions were initially scheduled to go into effect on August 10, 2016; however, they have been delayed until November 1, 2016 to give to time for OSHA to provide additional clarifications to these employer groups. OSHA has plans to provide additional explanations and information on the non-retaliatory requirements of the injury and illness reporting rule.
Overall, the new rule not only will allow employers benchmark their injury data against similar organizations, it will give employers added incentives to reduce worker injuries.