OSHA entered a final rule in 2016 that changed the manner in which workplace injuries are to be reported. The new rule requires that certain employers submit injury and illness data electronically. According to OSHA, the change is designed to decrease paperwork for the government and to allow for easier data analysis to be used in enforcement and compliance efforts.
The rule was originally to take effect in January 2017; but it was subsequently pushed to July 1, 2017. OSHA has now pushed the date out again to December 1, 2017.
Under the new regulation, companies with 250 or more employees will be required to submit injury reports electronically; but employers are still required to maintain the records relating to workplace injuries in hard copy at their office. If the company has between 20 and 249 employees and is in a “high risk” industry, it will have the same reporting requirements as those with more than 250 employees. The reporting requirements for other categories remain unchanged.
Importantly, the rule also has an anti-retaliation measure included in it that is already in effect. It prohibits efforts to discourage employees from reporting workplace injuries, requires employers to affirmatively communicate to employees that they have a right to report incidents, and discourages reporting mechanisms that could be seen as a deterrence to reporting injuries.
It’s not clear why OSHA delayed the electronic reporting requirement until December, but employers should remain diligent and be ready to comply when it does come on line.
If you have any questions on this or other construction issues, please contact me.
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