OSHA Proposes New Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently announced changes to reporting guidelines involving injury and illness report submissions. The guidelines were previously changed during the Trump administration, and now OSHA seeks to amend them once more. Here’s what you need to know about the new workplace injury and illness regulations.
What Are the Current OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements?
Organizations that employ 10 or more employees must maintain records of any severe work-related injuries. However, there are a number of low-risk industries that are considered exempt from this reporting requirement. Serious work-related injuries can be defined as:
Injury resulting in a loss of consciousness, time away from work, restricted working schedule, or transition to a different role
Diagnosis of cancer, chronic or irreversible disease, broken or fractured bones, broken teeth, or injury to the eardrums caused by work
Employers must maintain all records onsite for a minimum of 5 years. The documentation must also be made available if employees so request. Each year from February to April, employers will need to post summaries of these injury and illness records from the prior year.
Forms used for submitting records are forms 300, 300A, and 301. They can be submitted each year electronically via the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). It is also important to note that all fatalities must be reported within 8 hours. Any amputations or loss of eyes must be reported within 24 hours.
OSHA Form 300A is a summary of injuries and illnesses from the previous year that are “work-related” and “recordable.” This means not all injuries and illnesses experienced in the workplace are considered “work-related”—a matter of context—or rise to the level of “recordable”—a matter of degree. We’ll come back to how OSHA defines those terms in a moment.
How Can Organizations Remain Compliant?
OSHA Reporting is a three-step process:
If an incident of injury or illness meets the criteria of “work-related” and “recordable,” the employer must fill out a Form 301 Report.
Then, the incident must be recorded in the employer’s Form 300 Log for that worksite.
Finally, after the year’s end, the employer must use the Log to complete their Form 300A Summary.
To comply, the Form 300A Summary—not the Log—must be posted in a highly visible area of each worksite from February 1 through April 30. Employers must also submit the Summary to OSHA by March 2, using their online Injury Tracking Application.
Since January 15, 2022, OSHA’s maximum penalty for non-compliance has been $14,502 per violation for serious, other-than-serious, and posting requirement violations. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations is $145,027 per violation.
When necessary, employers must:
Provide safety training to workers in a language they understand
Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses
Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling
Provide personal protective equipment at no cost to workers
Provide hearing exams and other tests when required by OSHA standards
Post OSHA citations and annually post injury and illness summary data where workers can see them
Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality
Notify OSHA within 24 hours of all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, etc
Display the official OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law poster
Not retaliate or discriminate against workers for using their rights under the law
How Have Amendments Impacted the Recordkeeping Rule?
On March 30, 2022, OSHA published the proposed rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, which will amend its current recordkeeping requirements. This change will require that specific organizations report employee illness and injury to OSHA via Form 300.
In 2016, OSHA established a rule requiring non-exempt organizations with at least 250 workers to submit their injury and illness reports electronically using forms 300 and 301. Organizations pushed back, claiming privacy was not guaranteed. They worried that OSHA would have the means to publicly post the list of injuries and illnesses and ultimately shame employers publicly.
Due to persisting privacy concerns, the Trump administration changed the rule in 2018. The amended law stated that affected employers would need to only submit a summary of the incident log. OSHA is now choosing to revert to the 2016 approach.
What Is the Purpose of the New Injury and Illness Amendment?
As the currently proposed amendment stands, OSHA looks to readapt the 2016 change. The difference is that they have decreased the threshold determining which organizations must comply, from those with 250 or more employees to 100 or more.
Employers will be categorized into two separate lists. Appendix A will include high-risk industries determined from the 2017 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Appendix B will include employers with at least 100 employees with a three-year average recordable rate of 3.5 or more cases for every 100 full-time employees. Appendix B will consist of all employers, including those from Appendix A.
Even if organizations have fully complied with OSHA throughout the year they will still be subject to these new requirements. OSHA claims that technological advancements have lessened the risk of privacy concerns regarding detailed log report submissions. The goal is for OSHA to analyze the data they receive and ultimately focus its efforts on industries where there is the most significant concern.
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