The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) last week suspended a recent rule change requiring companies to electronically report their workplace injury and illness records. As we reported (here), on May 11, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule requiring certain employers to submit workplace injury and illness information electronically. The rule, which took effect at the beginning of 2017, had obligated covered employers to send in their summary data electronically no later than July 1. The information being collected was not due to change, just the method of reporting since employers already submit workplace safety information to OSHA. The new rule will make workplace safety data publicly available on OSHA’s website so that interested parties can search and download the data.
Proposed Reporting Requirements
Employers should be reminded that the electronic recordkeeping rule would not have created new obligations in terms of reporting. Those employers covered by the new rule would have been asked to simply use data from their OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 when using the electronic reporting method. The biggest impact, however, would be OSHA having the ability to electronically post workplace injury and illness data on its website from all workplaces with 20 or more employees. Submission was to be phased in based on employer establishment size and industry.
Next Steps Uncertain
First, a new deadline has not been announced and OSHA has not offered a formal reason for the postponement. Second, although the filing deadline is just six weeks away, it is telling that the agency had not yet even provided the online portal for employers to begin collecting and submitting required information. Third, now that the new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is in position, he must designate a new OSHA Director. Further, the new rules do not come without controversy as employers in high-risk industries oppose making the information publicly available for consumption by unions, plaintiffs’ attorneys, and others. On the flip side, unions and other worker advocacy groups have threatened legal challenges to force OSHA to meet the July 2017 implementation date.
California Employment Law
Kingsley & Kingsley will continue to track OSHA’s Workplace Injury and Illness Reporting Rules as Labor Secretary Acosta implements changes. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley with questions by calling the toll free number (888) 500-8469 or clicking here to contact us regarding your case.
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