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OSHA Issues Final Workplace Injury Electronic Reporting Rule

On May 11, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized a rule that requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data and inform workers of their right to report such work-related injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. While the reporting requirements will take effect January 1, 2017, the retaliation provisions will become effective August 10, 2016.

Goal of Final Rule

Under the current OSHA regulations, covered employers already must submit records of their workplace injuries and illnesses. The majority of this data, however, is not shared outside the workplace. The goal of the new rule, therefore, is to increase data transparency by making such information available online to the public (once cleared of personal information) and employers. Chris Lu, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor, explained in a May 11, 2016 blog post:

The final rule will enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders, encouraging them to improve their safety programs. Additionally, the rule allows industry researchers to better understand the causes of recurring injuries and identify emerging health hazards that would be difficult to detect by looking at the data of a single employer.

Lu also commented on the need for the retaliation provisions:

The data . . . will only be accurate if employees feel free to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. To ensure complete and accurate reporting, the rule includes provisions that protect the rights of workers who report these incidents.

Covered Employers

Under the new rule, a covered employer’s compliance schedule will depend on the size of the employer and will occur over a period of two years:

  • Employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by OSHA’s record keeping regulation must submit: information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017; information from their 2017 Forms 300A, 300 and 301 by July 1, 2018; and in every year thereafter, information from their yearly Forms 300A, 300 and 301 by March 2 of each year.

  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain covered high-risk industries must submit: information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017; information from their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018; and in every year thereafter, information from their yearly Form 300A by March 2 of each year.

In addition, employers should watch for requirements from their respective states, as the final rule also requires OSHA State Plan states (check your state’s status here) to adopt substantially similar requirements within 6 months after the rule is published.

Copyright © 2019 Godfrey & Kahn S.C.

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About this Author

Katheryn A. Mills, Godfrey Kahn, Labor Litigation Lawyer, Employment Immigration Attorney
Associate

Katie Mills is an associate in the firm’s Milwaukee office and a member of the Labor, Employment & Immigration Practice Group.

While attending law school, Katie was an intern at Marquette University Office of the General Counsel and served as a summer law clerk for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission conducting legal research. She also was a research assistant for Dean Matthew Parlow, Marquette Law School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law.

Also during law school, Katie was a Comment Editor...

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Rufino Gaytán, Labor & Employment Attorney, Godfrey Kahn Law Firm "
Associate

Rufino Gaytán is an associate member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group in Milwaukee. Rufino assists private and public employers in addressing general human resource issues and counsels employers in every aspect of labor and employment law. In particular, Rufino provides assistance with discrimination claims, wage and hour issues and drafting and enforcing restrictive covenant agreements. Rufino also represents clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division.

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