The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed more stringent rules when it comes to reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. These new changes would affect various medium-to-large sized companies across the country and could pose significant complications for smaller operations that fall within proposed thresholds.
OSHA was created to apply federal oversite and uniformity to how companies train, equip, and protect their employees. As a part of that process, certain employers have for years been required to submit accident and illness data to OSHA. The agency uses that data in multiple ways, including creating year-end snapshots of work-related injuries and illnesses in nearly every industry in the country, from retail establishments to construction companies, as well as for ongoing analysis to spot safety violations/trends quickly and to make changes that will directly affect individual employees. This data is also sanitized and collated into publicly accessible reports released annually.
Most recently, submission of this data has switched to digital transmission to lessen the amount of paperwork and mitigate any information possibly lost in transit.
Now, potential amendments to its occupational injury and illness recordkeeping regulation, 29 CFR 1904.41 would require many more companies to submit this data and require the transmission of additional information companies previously were not required to submit unless requested.
Summary of Proposed Changes to The OSHA Regulation
Boiled down to their most essential components, the proposed changes to 29 CFR 1904.41 would:
- Require companies with 100 or more employees (in certain high-hazard industries) to electronically submit information obtained from OSHA Forms 300, 301 and 300A to OSHA annually.
- Update the existing OSHA classification system to further specify the types of industries governed by this electronic submission requirement.
- Delete current Form 300A submission requirements for establishments with 250 or more employees that do not fall into one of the designated industries.
- Require companies to include a company name when making these electronic submissions
Essentially, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of companies across America which were not previously required to submit such information to OSHA would now be required to do so.
The proposed changes would also make it necessary for companies operating in designated “high-hazards industries” to submit additional information to OSHA that they were previous required to keep on hand. The two most crucial documents the proposal would require are a company’s “Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses” and its “Injury and Illness Incident Report.”
What You Can Do to Streamline the Process
While this change is currently just a proposal, it’s likely that it will soon be ratified making the submission of this data mandatory for hundreds or thousands of additional companies across the country.
To make the transitional process easier, it is advisable for companies with 100 or more employees operating within the targeted high-risk industries (including companies who employ crane operators) to ensure their OSHA reports are in order and easily accessible.
Doing so now will prevent unnecessary and avoidable OSHA entanglements in the future—including costly fines and work stoppages.
You can learn more about OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements to minimize the impact this potential future requirement will have on your business today.