On January 1, 2017, OSHA’s electronic reporting rule went into effect. The rule requires certain businesses to submit illness and injury reports electronically from then on out. Whether or not your business is required to submit these reports depends on the number of employees at each location and the industry you’re in. Construction employers, being in a high-risk industry, are required to submit illness and injury reports, and most will need to comply with the upcoming electronic reporting deadline.
What’s the new deadline?
Just last week, OSHA extended the effective date for businesses to electronically submit 2016 illness and injury reports via the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Originally December 1, the agency pushed the rule’s effective date back two weeks to December 15, 2017. This effective date was initially set for July 1, 2017 and was pushed back to allow OSHA more time to review and develop the ITA. The submission date applies to business establishments that are:
- Required to keep records and had more than 250 employees at any point during the previous calendar year
- In industries listed in the rule that had 20-249 employees at any point during the previous calendar year
An establishment is a physical location where business is conducted or where services are performed. Two or more physical locations can be part of the same establishment if:
- The locations are the same business operating under common management
- The locations are in close proximity to one another
- The owner keeps one set of business records for all locations
The only form employers must submit electronically for 2016 is Form 300A, a summary of the year’s injuries and illnesses that omits information like employee name and specific incident details. The same report is due for 2017 on July 1, 2018. For the 2018 year, employers under this rule will need to submit all three forms (300, 300A and 301) electronically by March 2, 2019. Barring any other deadline extensions by OSHA, the illness and injury reports will be due each year on March 2 beginning in 2019.
What else does the electronic reporting rule do?
The electronic reporting rule will make it easier for researchers to access and analyze injury and illness data, since it will be publicly disclosed. The collection of that data will allow OSHA to see the prevalence of certain injuries and illnesses, and see the impact of any prevention measures put in place. The agency also believes that public disclosure of these records will encourage employers to prioritize safety.
The first provision of this rule was effective in late 2016 and prevents employers from retaliating against employees that report OSHA violations. Employers are obligated to inform employees of their right to report violations (a requirement that can be satisfied by posting OSHA’s informational sign). The process of reporting violations also has to be reasonable and can’t discourage employees from reporting.
Several states have not yet adopted the electronic reporting rules, so employers in these states are not yet subject to this rule unless they are under federal jurisdiction:
- South Carolina
State and local governments in these states are also not yet required to submit reports through the ITA:
- New Jersey
- New York
It’s important to note that the electronic reporting rule does not require employers to record any new information; they already have to keep records on workplace injuries and illnesses. The rule simply requires that more information from those records is reported to OSHA and publishes some of it online, making the data more accessible and comprehensive for the agency, researchers, and employers.
Still have questions? See OSHA’s FAQ for this rule.