OSHA Announces Changes to Reporting Rules
June 6, 2016
OSHA recently released updated recordkeeping rules for workplace injuries. These changes will require electronic reporting of injury reports, which likely will be made public. Also, additional language has been added that requires employers to follow specific anti-retaliatory messaging and practices. The reporting rules will be effective Jan. 1, 2017. (Forms are due July 1, 2017). The anti-retaliatory practices will be effective sooner: Aug. 10, 2016.
The recordkeeping and electronic reporting rule applies to three categories of employers:
- Large employers, 250 or more employees, in a non-exempt industry. (Plumbing, HVAC, construction, etc. are non-exempt.)
- High-risk employers of 20 to 249 employees in industries defined by OSHA list (Plumbing, HVAC are included as construction).
- Any other employer from which OSHA makes a request for data.
If your company had 10 or fewer employees at all times during the last calendar year, you do not need to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless OSHA or the BLS informs you in writing that you must keep records. However, all employers covered by the OSH Act must report to OSHA any workplace incident that results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees.
The anti-retaliation portion of the rule is intended to ensure that employees know their rights to report injuries and maintain a safe work environment. There are three provisions for this as well. The final rule:
- Requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.
- Clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting.
- Incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
OSHA has concerns about incentive programs and their impact on safety; the anti-retaliation clarifications are intended to address this. Programs should encourage safe practices and training, not reward non-reporting of incidents. Read the OSHA memorandum for this here.
The time is now to get up to speed with the new program:
- By Aug. 10, 2016, positively inform your employees of their rights under this act and get confirmation of that notification; make sure you and/or your managers are aware of the process.
- Post a new poster from OSHA (available here) right away.
- Familiarize your operation with the required OSHA forms applicable to your business; see OSHA guidance here.
- Plan the submission process: 2016 forms are due July 1, 2017; 2017 forms are due July 1, 2018; 2018 forms are due March 2, 2019 (schedule to remain thereafter).
- Seek professional assistance, if necessary.