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OSHA Injury Reporting Rules for 2017

As of Jan 1, 2017 OSHA’s new rule for injury reporting took effect. However, there is still time to get in compliance before reaching the reporting deadlines.

The new OSHA rule for 2017 requires employers (low risk employers and employers with less than 10 employees are exempt) to electronically submit their OSHA Logs to the OSHA website. For the year 2017 only the OSHA 300A log is required to be submitted, but in 2018 the OSHA 300, 300A and 301 logs will all be required.

In order to electronically submit, OSHA will be providing a secure website with 3 reporting options.

  1. Users will be able to manually enter the data onto a form on the website.
  2. Users will be able to upload a file (in csv format)
  3. Users who utilize automated record keeping systems will be able to transmit the data electronically using an application programming interface

The OSHA reporting website is scheduled to be activated February 1, 2017. While current (and continuing law) is to post the physical OSHA 300A form at the workplace from February 1 through April 30th the deadline for electronically filing in 2017 and 2018 is July 1st. However, beginning in 2019 the electronic filing deadline is March 2nd.

OSHA recognizes that some states have their own plans and have mandated that states adopt these requirements within 6 months after publication of this final rule. State plans may have variances, but will still meet these minimum OSHA requirements.

The reason for this new rule, according to OSHA, is to improve safety for workers across the country. Their belief is that by making injury information publicly available it will encourage employers to work safely or take additional steps to improve their safety programs.

Anti-retaliation

Another item inserted in this injury reporting rule is a section to deter companies from retaliating against workers who report injuries. This rule prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. Additionally, employers must also inform their workers of their rights to report a work-related injury or illness free from retaliation. This can be accomplished by posting the OSHA required workplace poster. This poster continues to be an OSHA requirement in the new rule.

Other things to consider in regard to deterring injury reporting involve safety incentive programs that have an injury component. For instance, if there are no recordable injuries in a specified time period then employees receive additional compensation. This program is considered a deterrent to reporting because the employees will lose out on the compensation if they do.

Another item to consider is mandatory drug testing policies. OSHA considers mandatory drug testing to potentially be a deterrent to reporting. Mandatory drug testing should only be conducted when being under the influence of a substance is a potential cause of injury.

For example, a person sitting in the break room was having lunch when a ceiling tile fell and struck her.

OSHA would not deem being under the influence as a potential factor to the injury and thus, a mandatory drug test would be a deterrent to reporting. However, if the same worker was working from a ladder replacing ceiling tiles and was struck by one that fell, then a drug test is reasonable.

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