New OSHA Program Will Identify Employers Failing to Submit OHS Data
OSHA is initiating an enforcement program intended to identify employers that do not submit workplace injury and illness data through the agency’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records as well as establishments with 20 to 249 employees in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injury and illness are required to electronically submit Form 300A data each year. OSHA Form 300A records injury or illness data. According to an April 5 press release, employers identified through the new OSHA program will receive citations for failure to submit this data.
The new program, which begins this month, was developed in response to recommendations from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for OSHA to improve illness and injury data reporting. In a report issued Feb. 18. 2021, GAO estimated that more than 50 percent of employers meeting OSHA’s Form 300A criteria failed to submit injury and illness data for the years 2016–2018. As OSHA uses this data to target high-risk workplaces for inspections, this means OSHA may be missing employers with the highest illness and injury rates. “Absent more complete information,” the report stated, “OSHA is at risk for not achieving its objective of targeting inspections to establishments with the highest injury and illness rates.”
An OSHA memorandum provides information on how the enforcement program will work: the Office of Statistical Analysis (OSA) Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management will run weekly scans of employers with open OSHA inspections and match these employers against a list of establishments that may have failed to submit OSHA Form 300A through the ITA. OSA will then report potential matches to the appropriate OSHA area office for verification. Enforcement actions taken against employers found to have not submitted illness and injury data will follow the instructions of an OSHA memo issued on May 6, 2021.
This year, employers were required to submit Form 300A data for the 2021 calendar year by March 2; citations for noncompliance will be issued by Sept. 2.
Related: The 2021 study examining how OSHA identifies and addresses recordkeeping violations led GAO to conclude that “OSHA has taken limited steps to ensure compliance” in injury and illness data reporting.