New OSHA Proposal to Watch: Injury and Illness e-Reporting
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On July 30, 2018, OSHA proposed a rule to rescind a major injury and illness reporting requirement added for employers in 2016.
The 2016 Final Rule required annual electronic submission of injury and illness data recorded on OSHA Forms 300, 301, and 300A from establishments with 250 or more employees (and smaller employers in certain high-risk industries) who were already required to maintain records of injury and illness data.
OSHA has now moved to relax that 2016 reporting rule to better protect the privacy of employees involved in recordable injuries or illnesses. OSHA’s July 30 proposal removes the requirement for employers to electronically submit data from Forms 300 and 301.
If the proposal is finalized, employers will be required to electronically submit data from the more basic Form 300A only.
What It Means for OHS Professionals
It’s important that occupational health and safety managers keep this electronic reporting requirement in perspective. If your workplace is required by OSHA to keep injury and illness data on forms 300, 301, and 300A, any new or updated reporting rules—electronic or otherwise—do not impact your responsibility to record injuries or illnesses. Recordable injuries must be recorded regardless of whether OSHA requires submission of that data in one form or another (see 29 CFR 1904.7).
OSHA requires covered employers to record all injuries or illnesses that result in death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness. Employers must also record all cases that result in significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed healthcare professional. [29 CFR 1904.7(a)]
OSHA also requires reporting of work-related incidents that result in death within 8 hours, and reporting of work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours—see 29 CFR 1904.39(a)(1) and (2).
It is critical that employers fully understand not only what information OSHA requires for reporting purposes, but also which injuries and illnesses must be recorded, when, and how. By keeping accurate, up-to-date records of workplace injuries, employers will be prepared for any new or changing reporting requirement that may come down the road.
First e-Reporting Deadline Passed
July 1, 2018 marked the first deadline for employers to electronically submit injury and illness data logs through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) portal, as laid out in the 2016 Final Rule. Before the July 1 deadline, OSHA announced that it would accept only data from Form 300A, which presents a generalized summary of workplace injuries and illnesses over the past calendar year.
Because the agency was planning to revise the rule, OSHA did not collect data from Forms 300 or 301 during the inaugural electronic reporting period. Using Forms 300 and 301, employers record additional details of workplace injuries or illnesses. The agency announced plans earlier this year to “rescind or revise” the requirement to electronically submit that more detailed data.
Employers who have not yet submitted data from their Calendar Year 2017 Form 300A should do so as soon as possible. Submissions after July 1, 2018 will be flagged as late, OSHA says.
Why Is OSHA Relaxing Injury Reporting?
While the OSHA 300A log presents only a broad summary of injury and illness data, Forms 300 and 301 logs present detailed information about the affected employee(s)—specifics about the injury; the employee’s name, date of birth, job title, and gender; date of injury; doctor’s name; and so on. This information must be collected and recorded by the employer with or without the employee’s consent.
To “protect sensitive worker information from potential disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” OSHA’s July 30, 2018 proposal would remove the requirement for employers to submit the detailed injury and illness data from Forms 300 and 301.
Even if sensitive worker information were redacted from injury and illness forms, OSHA says, the data may not be anonymized enough to sufficiently protect worker privacy.
Forms 300 and 301 Provide “Uncertain Enforcement Value”
OSHA also believes that to review all the specific data on Forms 300 and 301, the agency would have to divert resources from its already useful review of 300A forms collected from employers. The benefit gained by reviewing the more detailed data, OSHA says, would be of “uncertain enforcement value.”
According to the proposal, OSHA collected Form 300A data from more than 200,000 employers last year and used that data to design a targeted enforcement mechanism for industries with high rates of injuries and illnesses. OSHA believes even more establishments will report in the future, citing ongoing efforts to better inform employers of their responsibilities to report and other factors.
View the proposed rule in the Federal Register.