The U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration "OSHA" has issued a proposed rule that would require certain employers to submit records of workplace injuries and illnesses electronically on a quarterly and annual basis. Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 78 Fed. Reg. 67253 (2013) (to be codified at 29 C.F.R. pt. 1904) (proposed Nov. 8, 2013). OSHA says it intends to make the data collected public in a searchable online database. The agency maintains the proposed rule will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and health and will enhance employers’ reputations. However, some commentators have suggested the proposed rule supports OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels’s controversial “regulation by shaming” initiative. Written comments on the proposed regulations must be submitted by February 6, 2014. OSHA intends to hold a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9, 2014, but it gives no timetable for the expected publication of a final rule.
Under the proposal, employers that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904 of OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations and had 250 or more employees (including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers) in the previous year must submit all of the information from these records (OSHA Forms 300 and 301) electronically on a quarterly basis. Specifically, employers must submit data for recorded injuries, illnesses and fatalities as follows:
- for the period from January through March, by April 30;
- for the period from April through June, by July 31;
- for the period from July through September, by October 31; and
- for the period from October through December, by January 31.
In addition, they must submit OSHA Form 300A (Summary Form) by March 2 of the year after the calendar year covered by the form.
Under the proposal, employers that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904 of OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations, had at least 20 employees (including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers) in the previous year, and are in certain designated industries, must submit the annual summary information from the OSHA Form 300A electronically by March 2 of the year following the end of the calendar year covered by the form. The designated industries include those with a 2009 Days Away From Work, Job Restriction, or Job Transfer (DART) rate of 2.0 or greater and are listed in Appendix A to Subpart E of Part 1904.
The proposal also will require employers who receive written notification from OSHA to submit specified information from their Part 1904 injury and illness records electronically at specified time intervals.
Secure Website Submission
OSHA plans to provide a secure website for the electronic submission of the requested data. Employers will register their establishments and be assigned a login ID and a password. The website will allow for both direct data entry and submission of data through a batch file upload.
OSHA eventually intends to make the data it collects public in a searchable online database, including:
- all data fields from the OSHA Form 300A (Summary Form);
- all data fields from the OSHA Form 300 (Log), except the employee’s name; and
- all data fields on the right side of OSHA Form 301 (Incident Report).
The information reported from the Incident Report would include the case number, date of injury or illness, time employee began work, time of event, what the employee was doing just before the incident occurred, what happened, what the injury or illness was, what object or substance directly harmed the employee, and the date of death, if applicable.