OSHA Revises Electronic Reporting Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule on January 25, 2019 revising its electronic reporting rules in an effort to protect employee privacy.  The final rule, originally announced in July 2018, eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year.  In a news release, OSHA states, “This rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301.”  The release further clarifies that employers are still obligated to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, which OSHA uses for inspection and enforcement actions.

The original electronic recordkeeping rule, issued under President Obama in May 2016, was meant to take effect in January 2017 but suffered implementation delays, ultimately settling on a deadline of December 30, 2017 for 2016 reporting.  Plans to eliminate the electronic filing requirement were reported just a few months later, and the proposed rule eliminating the electronic reporting requirement was issued in July 2018. Effective January 25, 2019, the final rule eliminates electronic reporting requirements of Forms 300 and 301 for 2017 and 2018; however, litigation over the final rule is expected, and the impact on pending litigation remains to be seen.

Establishments with 250 or more employees, as well as establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries designated by OSHA (such as employers in construction, manufacturing, hospitals, nursing homes, and amusement parks, among others), are still required to electronically submit OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses). See 29 C.F.R. Section 1904.41.  OSHA Form 300A documents workplace injuries and illnesses in summary form, and is required to be submitted electronically by the above-referenced establishments annually even if no work-related injuries or illnesses occurred during the year.

Employers covered under the rule have a deadline of March 2, 2019 to electronically submit Form 300A for 2018. 

Employers are reminded that OSHA Forms 300 and 301 reporting and recordkeeping requirements remain in place, and a failure to properly document work-related injuries and illnesses can lead to lengthy investigations and hefty fines by OSHA.  Employers seeking to understand and implement effective OSHA compliance plans should do so in consultation with experienced counsel who can ensure that their efforts do not create more problems than they solve.

The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country for over sixty years and are available to discuss issues related to OSHA compliance and other matters.  As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.