OSHA Makes Sweeping Changes to its Illness and Injury Reporting Rule -- What this Means for Employers
May 12, 2016partially-exempt industries are required to maintain injury and illness reporting records on a log (OSHA Form 300), with supporting documentation (OSHA Form 301, or other equivalent document such as workers compensation records). Each employer then summarizes that information each year onto OSHA Form 300A, which the employer then posts at the workplace from February 1 to April 30. Other than serious injuries such as amputations, fatalities, or accidents requiring hospitalization, which require more immediate reporting, employers have not been required to submit injury and illness data to OSHA. Now, however, many businesses will have to submit injury and illness information periodically to OSHA electronically. Not only that, but OSHA also will post this information online. The reporting changes affect businesses depending on their size and classification:
- Businesses with 250 or more employees. These businesses will have to submit the annual summary form 300A electronically by July 1, 2017; submit the Forms 300, 301, and 300A electronically by July 1, 2018; and then submit Forms 300, 301, and 300A by March 2 annually thereafter.
- Businesses with 20-249 employees in “high-hazard” industries. OSHA has compiled a long list of high-hazard industries, including but not limited to hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, agriculture, utilities, construction, manufacturing, grocery stores, department stores, transportation companies, that must also submit information electronically if they have 20-249 employees, albeit less information than larger businesses. These businesses need only submit Form 300A by July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, and then continue submission of Form 300A each year by March 2 thereafter.
- Employers must establish a “reasonable” procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and inform employees of that procedure. The rule states that “[a] procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.”
- Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. OSHA has issued a Fact Sheet stating this obligation may be met by posting the “OSHA Job Safety and Health — It’s The Law” poster from April 2015 or later.
- The rule also adds a provision prohibiting discrimination against an employee for reporting a work-related injury, filing a safety or health complaint, or asking to see the employer’s injury and illness logs.