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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

OSHA's Electronic Method for Reporting Injuries and Illnesses - Delayed to December 15, 2017

Posted by Anamaria Sporea

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In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a new rule which requires employers to electronically submit injury and illness data. This new standard took effect on January 1, 2017 and requires employers to submit electronically injury and illness data. However, the date of compliance has been repeatedly pushed back.

This new requirement has been one that has been exceedingly mobile in recent months, subject to delays from the Labor Department, a shifting compliance date and industry figures doing their best to keep a close eye on its development. This article will examine the current status and intent of this key change.

Collecting this data was already a requirement, and had to be held on record, conforming to OSHA standards, but did not require employers to transmit the data to OSHA.

While the necessity of reporting does not change, OSHA postponed the date of compliance to report electronically to December 15, 2017, despite it being previously set for July 1, 2017. This delay was due to OSHA’s intention to allow employers to become more familiar and adept with the accompanying website provided by OSHA.

The submitted information will help OSHA in its analysis efforts and improve safety in a huge number of workplaces. Some submitted information from employers may be disclosed on OSHA’s website so as to provide the general public with valuable information. The rule is intended to make injury and illness data public to increase safety and public knowledge.

This new rule might seem complicated at first sight, but, ultimately, it will help facilitate the submission of data and will ameliorate the condition of work sites to make them more secure and safe for American workers.

Let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments down below!

Intended Benefits

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Although the changes are not drastic, they will bring a variety of advantages to employers and employees as well as OSHA. Keep in mind that the goal of OSHA through this provision is to ameliorate the safety in workplaces of millions by making reporting more complete.

Ehsan Maghsoudi Ph.D, EH&S Project Manager at ERA, provided us with his insights on the modifications added to the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation:

“OSHA’s new way to report electronically is a huge step forward for the welfare and security of workers across the country. By requiring employers—of organizations that number over 20 employees—to communicate their Form 300A, it allows OSHA to analyze the data and assess the situation. For example, OSHA could gear its inspections towards more specific and hazardous subdivisions of industries. The revised rule is a chance for employers to benchmark within an industry, analyze more profoundly data and ensure to have the correct and completed Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A).”

The principal advantage of the provision is that through the information acquired, all the individuals affected by the rule will be able to more clearly detect and mitigate risks of hazardous workplaces. Sadly, the number of workers getting injured, requiring more than first aid, or made ill on the job is incredibly high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, there were over four thousand fatalities in workplaces. And, it is impossible for OSHA to reduce the unacceptably high number of injuries and illnesses without more precise data. However, if employers transmit to OSHA their data of injuries and illnesses, it will help them bring change into the lives and workplaces of exposed workers. More precisely, through analysis, public disclosure and inspection, as above-mentioned.

Overall, reporting electronically contributes greatly to OSHA, the employer and the employee in a collaborative and advantageous situation. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that workers do not risk life or limb needlessly in their field of work.

Wave of Change

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The changes, made by OSHA, are intended to promote the safety of American workers. The main intention of the changes is to publish the data on OSHA’s official website in order to allow workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public this information. Therefore, this act will encourage employers to put more effort into the security and well being of their workers as well as becoming a safer organization in the industry through bench marking.

The employers of companies in certain industries will have to submit their injury and illness report through a secure web-based reporting platform provided by OSHA. This website will offer three methods of submission.

The first option lets users to enter manually their data into the web page. Second, users will be able to upload a CSV file to process one or multiple establishments. Last, users with automated record keeping systems with will be able to transmit their data through an application programming interface (API). The API is called the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) and will be launched on August 1, 2017 on the ITA page.

The compliance schedule is set to occur over a period of two years, allowing employers enough time to get accustomed to the changes. An establishment with over 250 employees covered by the record keeping regulation must submit their 2016 Form 300A information by December 15, 2017. Falling the same category, the employers must submit their data concerning their 2017 forms (300A, 300 and 301) by July 1, 2018. At the start of 2019 and every year after that, the forms must be transmitted by March 2.

Similarly, establishments with 20-249 employees must submit the 2016 Form 300A by December 15, 2017, but only if they form part of certain high-risk industries. They must also submit their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018 and every year after 2019, including 2019, the employers of establishments with 20-249 employees must submit their data by March 2.

No Sure Thing

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Since the final rule has been published, controversy has surrounded it. In fact, several court cases have surfaced to challenge the legal aspect of the rule. Some organizations are worried that the rule might inflect needless reputation damage. Other experts fear that the rule might never see the light of day, with all the delays and disputes, as well as the current stance of the Labor Department. The current US administration has yet to review the regulation.

Ultimately, the revisions brought to the original standard were made to mitigate further risk and hazard by disclosing publicly reports from establishments. The required establishments have three different approaches to submit data of their Form 300A through OSHA’s secure web-based program.

Let Us Help You

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OSHA’s revision of the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation will now require employers of establishments with 20 or more employees to submit through a secure web platform their information concerning the Form 300A.

Different means of submitting will be available for employers such as submitting through an ATI, which is scheduled for launch on August 1, 2017.

This substantial change might leave you feeling overwhelmed, not know where to start. Nevertheless, OSHA allows a third party to maintain and submit data for an employer. The ERA health and safety software is a user-friendly platform that will assist you with reducing on-site incidents, staff training and conforming with H&S regulations.

Request a demo today, personalized to your organization's needs, to see how ERA can help you stay on top of your reporting requirements.

 

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Topics: Sustainability, ERA Ingenuity at Work