OSHA Electronic Injury Reporting: One Step Forward, One Step Back

By Kathleen Jennings (kjj@wimlaw.com)

OSHA appears to be going ahead with implementation of electronic reporting of employer injury data. Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have actively opposed this electronic reporting rule, which would make employee injury data public. Nevertheless, earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it will launch the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) on Aug. 1, 2017. The Web-based form allows employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. The application will be accessible from the ITA webpage.

However, the deadline for employers to electronically submit 2016 Form 300A has been pushed back to Dec. 1, 2017 (the initial compliance deadline was July 1), to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation.

According to OSHA, the data submission process involves four steps: (1) Creating an establishment; (2) adding 300A summary data; (3) submitting data to OSHA; and (4) reviewing the confirmation email. The secure website offers three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

The ITA webpage also includes information on reporting requirements, a list of frequently asked questions and a link to request assistance with completing the form.

Which employers must electronically submit information to OSHA? According to the final rule that became effective on January 1, 2017:

  • Establishments with at least 250 workers must electronically submit data from OSHA forms 300, 300A and 301 annually.
  • Establishments with 20 to 249 employees that conduct work in industries that OSHA considers “highly hazardous” must electronically submit to OSHA information from form 300A annually.

These “high risk” industries include construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, healthcare, utilities, agriculture, forestry, and more.

The requirements are scheduled to be phased in over two years. In 2017, all “covered establishments” must submit data from 2016 Form 300A. Next year, the rule requires establishments with at least 250 employees to submit information from 2017 Forms 300, 300A and 301. Those with 20 to 249 workers in specified industries are required to enter data from Form 300A. The deadline moves up to March 2 in 2019 and beyond.

Note that this is a separate requirement from OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting protocol, which requires employers to report any worker fatality within 8 hours and any amputation, loss of an eye, or hospitalization of a worker within 24 hours to OSHA.

Pro tip: It is possible that the Trump administration will suspend final implementation of the rule. In the meantime, unless and until that happens, affected employers should prepare to comply with the rule on December 1. We will continue to monitor any developments in this area and report any updates.

Kathleen Jennings, Principal is a principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. She defends employers in sexual harassment and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters. She can be contacted at kjj@wimlaw.com.

©2017 Wimberly Lawson

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