By Robert G. Chadwick, Jr., Partner, Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP.
On May 12, 2016, OSHA published a Final Rule amending its recordkeeping regulations to include new electronic submission mandates for certain work establishments. This Rule was published at the same time as new anti-retaliation regulations explained in this blog’s May 12, 2016’s post entitled What Employers Need to Know About OSHA’s New Anti-Retaliation Regulations! The new electronic recordkeeping mandates will be phased in over two years.
Which Work Establishments Must Comply With the Final Rule?
The new electronic recordkeeping mandates apply to two groups of establishments:
- An establishment with 250 or more employees; or
- An establishment with 20-249 employees which is classified in an industry listed in Appendix A to the Final Rule. Appendix A lists 66 industries.
What Does the Final Rule Mandate?
The Final Rule mandates that establishments with 250 or more employees electronically submit injury and illness data they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. See What Employers Need to Know About OSHA Injury/Illness Records Mandate, posted on March 14, 2016. The Final Rule mandates that a covered establishment with 20-249 employees electronically submit its OSHA Form 300A.
How Will the Mandated Electronic Information be Submitted?
OSHA will provide a secure website for the electronic submission of information.
Does the Final Rule Replace Existing Injury/Illness Records Mandates?
No. If an establishment is already required to create and maintain an OSHA Form 300, 300A and 301, the establishment will still be required to maintain the Form even if the electronic submission mandates do not apply. Similarly, if an establishment is partially exempt from maintaining OSHA injury/illness records, the partial exemption remains.
What is the Timetable For Phasing In the New Mandates?
Covered establishments with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from their 2016 OSHA Forms 300A by July 1, 2017 Such employers must electronically submit information from their 2017 OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the mandated information must be electronically submitted by March 2.
Covered establishments with 20-249 employees must electronically submit information from their 2016 OSHA Forms 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 OSHA Forms 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.
What Does the Final Rule Authorize OSHA to Do With Electronically Submitted Information?
Some of the data will be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA maintains that “public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public.”
What Does the Final Rule Mean for OSHA State Plans?
OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in the Final Rule within 6 months.
What Does the Final Rule Mean for OSHA Inspections?
Increased access to injury and illness data will allow OSHA to better (1) target establishments for inspection, (2) evaluate whether or not an OSHA violation was willful, and (3) determine the fines which should be proposed for an OSHA violation.
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