OSHA New Record Keeping Rules and How It Will Change Your Business Practices

OSHA Issues Final Rule to Make Employers, Public Better Informed About Workplace Injuries, Illnesses

The following is a summary of the new OSHA final rule on employers. Their agenda for the rest of the year appears to be brutal for many employers and industries. OSHA is living up to its word back in 2009 that they are going to put unsafe companies out of business. TC Risk Management is here to help explain this new rule and how you can use it to protect your business and your workers.

As many of you know, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA. While some private companies may release their incident numbers to the public, this is rare.

OSHA Record Keeping RulesOSHA believes “high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities.”

In other words, all injuries and illnesses at your workplace will be reported to OSHA in order to encourage more safety training to reduce your incident numbers. The fewer injuries your workers have, the better your company will look to prospective employees, clients, and consumers.

Reporting Injuries for Accurate Records

“Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk,” Dr. Michael said, which “enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."

The second part of the rule deals with the protection of employees from retaliation for reporting their injuries. Many companies offer safety programs and policies which, intentionally or otherwise, discourage employees from reporting their injuries. This in turn leads to incomplete or inaccurate records of workplace hazards.

The summary of the overreach is:

  • To modernize injury data collection to better inform workers, employers, the public, and OSHA about workplace hazards.
  • OSHA states it is applying the insights of behavioral economics to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illness.
  • Employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency's website.
  • All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301.
  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries* must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.
  • To promote an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting.
  • The new requirements take effect August 10, 2016, with phased in data submissions beginning in 2017.
  • These requirements do not add to or change an employer's obligation to complete and retain injury and illness records under the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation.

*Most companies will either have to submit all of their safety logs or at least an annual 300A (the one posted from February to April).

These record keeping rules will be fully implemented on January 1, 2017. If your company is not ready to meet these new standards, you will be at risk for sanctions and fines from OSHA. More information can be found here https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/

If you need any assistance in OSHA injury and illness record keeping, do not hesitate in contacting us now.