July 18, 2016
Recently Updated OSHA Injury Reporting Requirements
As you may already know, OSHA recently released a final rule concerning the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses to the government. But how, exactly, does this change the existing rule, and what are the big changes?
This past May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its final rule regarding reporting injuries and job-related illnesses to the U.S. Department of Labor, and within that ruling, as you may suspect, there were some pretty big changes that those of us in the reliability industry should be aware of.
For starters, OSHA has updated its requirements regarding reporting and submission of records pertaining to work-related injuries as well as illnesses. This update mandates that any injury sustained must be electronically submitted to OSHA"s website. In addition, any employer that employs 250 or more workers (which presently must maintain OSHA injury records) will need to additionally submit data from OSHA 300 logs, 300A summaries, and 301 reports directly to OSHA.
If your organization qualifies under this rule, you only presently have to worry about 300A summaries, which are required for electronic submission no later than July 1, 2017. OSHA forms 300, 300A, and 301s (for the calendar year 2017) have a deadline of July 1, 2018.
If your company employs between 20 and 249 staff and is in one of 67 specific listed industries (particularly those that have a higher rate of occupational hazard), you have until July 1, 2017, to submit your 2016 OSHA 300A summaries. Starting in 2019, this deadline will move to March 2 for any previous calendar year.
Finally, if your business qualifies as an organization that does not need to send information regularly to OSHA, be aware that OSHA can collect data from your company and may request additional information via written notification.
Another big change in the new ruling by OSHA pertains to protections against retaliation. Within the rule, there is a section (specifically Section 11c) that discusses the requirements for whistle-blower protections, so that employees can report injuries without being afraid of being retaliated against by employers or others. Any employer must now inform their employees that they have the right to report workplace injuries or illnesses without fear of retaliation. One way that you can meet this requirement is by posting a "Job Safety and Health: it's the Law" workers" rights poster, originally issued in April of 2015.
Additionally, the procedure that your company has in place for reporting such issues has to be simple and not discourage your employees from submitting a report. If an employee feels retaliated against or discouraged from reporting, your company can now receive a citation for retaliation according to the record-keeping standard, and they may also file a Section 11c complaint, which could, in turn, increase any possible liability you may incur.
While not every company agrees with these new rulings, at the end of the day, they are in place to help ensure that workers are protected and remain safe, something every member of an organization, from the bottom straight to the top, should be concerned with.