The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new final rule in an effort to “nudge” employers to focus on safer work environments.  The new rule dramatically revises the current recording and reporting of occupational injuries and illnesses in an effort to modernize data collection.  Additionally, it plans to make the injury and illness data accessible to the public in the hopes that the disclosure will influence employers to focus more heavily on safety; ultimately creating safer work environments and improving employers’ bottom lines.

Key Changes in OSHA’s new record keeping rule are:

  1. Companies with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation are required to submit annual injury and illness data already recorded on the OSHA 300 Logs, 301 Incident Reports, and 300A Annual Summaries;
  2. Companies with 20-249 employees in industries deemed “high hazard” must submit information from their 300A Annual Summaries each year.
  3. Submissions of the required data must be made electronically to OSHA through a secured website, and;
  4. OSHA will publish the data online which will be available to the public.

The new rule takes effect January 1, 2017, however; there are anti-retaliation protections that become effective on August 10, 2016 that may require action by many employers.

Three additional changes have been made to the regulations that may call for revision employee policies or programs in order to be in compliance:

  1. Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation;
  2. Clarify the already implicit requirement that the employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses is reasonable and will not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and
  3. Incorporate the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

All changes within the new OSHA rule will be phased in over a two year period.  OSHA State Plans must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in the federal rule within six months after publication of this final rule.

It’s important that you take steps now to ensure compliance with the August 10th requirements of this rule.  If you need assistance, please contact the Axiom team.