New OSHA Electronic Reporting Rules for Workplace Accidents and Injuries

Certain employers should be aware of changes to how they must submit workplace accident and injury reports to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) taking effect on January 1, 2017. Although the content and form of these reports are not changing, certain employers will now be required to submit these reports electronically, and once these reports are submitted, OSHA will post them publicly on its website.

This new electronic submission requirement applies to employers with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records. Smaller employers in certain industries with 20-249 employees also must submit reports electronically.  For both of these employer categories, part-time and seasonal employees count towards the total number of employees.  A full list of these smaller industries that must report electronically is found here, and includes agricultural, transportation and warehousing employers.

Employers with more than 250 employees must electronically submit their Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses form (Form 300A) to OSHA by July 1, 2017, for illnesses and injuries that occurred in 2016. These employers must also electronically submit their Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) and their Injury and Illness Incident Report (Form 301) by July 1, 2018, for illnesses and injuries that occurred in 2017.  For 2019 and every year thereafter, these forms must be electronically submitted by March 2.

Employers in the linked list of industries with 20-249 employees must electronically submit Form 300A by July 1, 2017 for workplace injuries occurring in 2016, and they must also submit the same Form by July 1, 2018 for injuries occurring in 2017. Like larger employers, this submission deadline will be moved up to March 2 in 2019 and every year thereafter.  Smaller employers do not need to file Forms 300 or 301.

The new rule also requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injury and illness free from employer retaliation. Employers are already prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting workplace injuries, but under this new rule, OSHA is able to cite an employer for retaliation even when an employee does not file a retaliation complaint to OSHA.  OSHA is now permitted to take action against employers who it determines have enacted a program that discourages accident reporting through the threat of retaliation.  In order to comply with this rule, employers must adopt a procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses that does not discourage employees from reporting.

Employers who are already in compliance with OSHA recordkeeping and record retention rules do not need to collect any additional information to comply with the new rule – the only change is how this information will be submitted to OSHA. However, employers should be mindful of the fact that these reports will now be displayed publicly on OSHA’s website.  Additionally, employers should review their accident reporting procedures to ensure that they do not discourage reporting or threaten retaliation.

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