CLIENT UPDATE

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November 11, 2013

OSHA Proposes Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

On November 7, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a proposed rule to enhance workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses.  The proposed rule does not add any new recordkeeping requirement; rather, it requires employers to transmit these records electronically to OSHA on a more frequent basis.  If adopted, the proposed rule would apply only to employers that are already required to keep records of safety and health information under Title 29, Part 1904 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“Part 1904”). The full text of the proposed rule is available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-08/pdf/2013-26711.pdf.

Current Reporting Obligations

Generally, three categories of employers are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records:

  • Employers under OSHA’s jurisdiction with 11 or more employees, unless the establishment is classified in a partially-exempt industry, such as low-hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate;
  • Employers with 10 or fewer employees, if OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) informs them in writing that they must keep records; and
  • Establishments in partially-exempt industries, if OSHA or BLS informs them in writing that they must keep records.

The current recordkeeping rule requires covered employers: to complete Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) for each injury and illness; record each injury and illness on Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses); and on an annual bases, complete Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) using the information from Forms 301 and 300.

Proposed Reporting Requirements

The proposed rule would affect employers in three important ways.  First, employers that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904, and that had 250 or more employees in the previous year, would be required to submit information from those records electronically to OSHA on a quarterly basis.

Second, employers that are required to keep injury and illness records under Part 1904, that had 20 or more employees in the previous year, and that are in certain designated industries would be required to electronically submit the information from the OSHA annual summary form (Form 300A) to OSHA on an annual basis.  The designated industries represent all industries covered by Part 1904 with a 2009 Days Away From Work, Job Restriction, or Job Transfer (DART) rate of 2.0 or greater in the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding four selected transit industries where local government is a major employer.

Third, upon request from OSHA, employers would be required to electronically submit to OSHA specified information from the records they keep under Part 1904.

Employers would submit the information through a secure website provided by OSHA.  Each employer would register in the system and, upon registration, receive a login ID and password.  The website would allow for both direct data entry and submission of data through a batch file upload, as appropriate.   

Reported Data Made Public

Under the proposed rule, OSHA would make public the data it collects from the regular reports submitted by employers.  The publication of specific elements of the reports would be restricted, in part, by provisions under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), the Privacy Act and specific provisions in Part 1904.  Specifically, OSHA would be able to make the following data available in an on-line searchable database:

  • All data fields from the OSHA Form 300A
  • All data fields from the OSHA Form 300, except the employee’s name
  • The following data fields from the OSHA Form 301:
  • 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
  • Date of death, if applicable

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The public has 90 days to submit comments to OSHA concerning the proposed rule.  OSHA will also hold a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9, 2014. 

If you should have any questions regarding the proposed rule, please contact us.