A new rule has been put in place that requires certain employees to submit their work-related accident and injury reports to OSHA electronically. This rule took effect on January 1, 2017. OSHA is not currently accepting electronic submissions. A proposal has been made to extend the start date beyond the current date of July 1, 2017. Updates will be posted on the OSHA website.
Once the rule goes into effect, there are some basic things that you will need to know.
What is the Purpose of the New Rule?
Affected companies will be required to electronically file copies of the employee injury and illness records that are already required to be kept on-site. When submitted in electronic format, OSHA will be better able to analyze information and use it for compliance and enforcement purposes.
Some of the reports will also be publicly disclosed on the OSHA website. It is believed that employers are more likely to take preventative action to avoid work-related accidents and injuries if their incident information is readily available to the general public. Public disclosure also allows potential employees, researchers, and customers to access this important information.
What is the Electronic Submission Process?
Employers will have three ways to submit data through OSHA’s secure website:
- Manually type information into a web-based form
- Upload data using a CSV file
- Use an automatic Record-keeping system
The automatic Record-keeping system submits electronic data using an application programming interface (API).
This new rule reinforces already-existing employee protections. Procedures for reporting must be reasonable and cannot discourage employees from making an incident report. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who report incidents. Employees must be notified that they have a right to report incidents and that employers are not allowed to retaliate against them for doing so. Employers can meet this obligation by posting OSHA workplace poster, which is already required.
Is Your Company Affected by the New Rule?
The electronic filing rules affect the following establishments:
250 or More Employees
Establishments with 250 or more employees that are already subject to OSHA requirements must file the following documents electronically:
- OSHA Form 300 – Work-Related Injury and Illness Log
- OSHA Form 301 – Incident Report
- OSHA Form 300A – Summary Report
20 – 249 Employees
Establishments with 20 – 249 employees in certain industries are required to electronically submit a portion of the information found on OSHA Form 300A.
Fewer than 20 Employees
If an establishment employs fewer than 20 employees year-round, they are exempt from routinely submitting their data electronically.
OSHA estimates that establishments with 250 or more employees should need less than 35 minutes to set up their account and enter the required information. Smaller establishments should be able to complete the process in about 20 minutes.
Since the submission website is not yet live, some of this information may change. You are encouraged to visit the OSHA website regularly to check for any updates that may apply to your company.