OSHA relieves contractors from some electronic recordkeeping
- OSHA on Thursday released its final electronic recordkeeping rule and, as the agency proposed in July, large employers will not have to electronically submit details about their employees’ workplace injuries and illnesses. The rule was published to the Federal Register Friday and will take effect after 30 days.
- Establishments with 250 or more employees will not have to submit electronically Form 300, "Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses," or Form 301, "Injury and Illness Incident Report.” All covered employers will still have to submit Form 300A, "Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” electronically. Employees still must record, retain and, when required, report the information for this form as they have in the past.
- The regulation was amended to require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in electronic submissions in order to enhance OSHA’s ability to track and analyze injuries and illnesses. The agency also clarified that the final rule does not prevent employers from drug testing or from initiating incident-based incentive programs as long as those programs aren't used to penalize employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
One of the biggest objections to the original rule, when proposed, was that the information included on the more detailed forms would compromise both employee and employer privacy since the forms would be available to the public.
Construction industry trade groups like the National Association of Home Builders were also concerned that some of the published information, like how many hours employees worked, would give companies an unfair glimpse into their competitors' operations. The group also argued the documents would mislead the public about a company’s safety record since there would be no information included on the actions taken to increase safety in the workplace following an incident.
When OSHA proposed an amended regulation, officials said that even though employee names would not be included in the information that employers reported, there was a risk that someone could trace an injury or illness back to a specific individual. Combined with the cost of agency implementation and the extra expense to employers, OSHA decided the rule’s cons outweighed the pros.
Bloomberg reported in March that there was confusion about who was required to submit which forms, with underreporting on the part of those required to submit electronically and overreporting from those who were not. Now that there is a final rule, OSHA and those responsible for contractor safety can direct their efforts to making sure those in the industry know their responsibilities.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Rule to Protect Privacy of Workers
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