Federal OSHA has made it clear in early 2022 that employers need to take Form 300A injury and illness reporting very seriously.
How so? Well, by mid-April, the agency has:
- started an enforcement program targeting 300A non-responders
- proposed amendments to injury and illness recordkeeping regulations, and
- has stated again that it will be making employer injury and illness records public.
If you’re dutifully keeping up with your OSHA 300A forms, you may think you have nothing to worry about.
However, OSHA’s renewed interest in injury and illness data means it will be going over this information in greater detail than before, should you find yourself the subject of an inspection.
That means every ‘i’ needs to be dotted and ‘t’ crossed or you could end up with a citation.
As most safety pros know, OSHA’s 29 CFR 1904 requires employers with more than 10 employees in most industries to keep records of any occupational injuries and illnesses that occur in their establishments.
Work-related injuries and illnesses are recorded on OSHA Form 300, which includes information on the employee’s name, job title, date of injury/illness, where the incident occurred, a description of the injury/illness, and the outcome of the injury/illness.
Additional details on an injury/illness are recorded on the supplementary OSHA Form 301, including the employee’s address, date of birth, date hired, gender and more details about where and how the injury occurred.
At the end of each year, employers are required to prepare a summary report of all injuries and illnesses and post this information in a visible location in the workplace.
This summary doesn’t contain an employee’s personal details, but it does include general information about the workplace, such as the average number of employees and total number of hours worked by all employees during the calendar year.
Employers with 250 or more employees in industries required to keep injury/illness records must electronically submit their Form 300A summary to OSHA once a year. Certain employers with 20 to 249 employees must also submit that information electronically.
Big changes in proposed rule
However, under a proposed rule, the requirement for employers with 250 or more employees would change to require employers with 100 or more employees to electronically submit their injury/illness information to OSHA annually.
Further, this amended rule would also update the industry classification system used for OSHA’s list of designated industries. This extensive list, along with its proposed changes, can be found in the proposed rule’s Federal Register entry.
That means, depending on the industry you’re in, your company may end up being required to electronically file its Form 300 information with OSHA when it didn’t have to before.
Agency aiming to make data public
OSHA also stated it “intends to post this collected establishment-specific, case-specific injury and illness information online.” It also said it intends to require employers to include their company names on these electronically filed summaries.
The agency said it’s going to seek to minimize the possibility that a worker’s personal information will be released through “multiple efforts,” including:
- limiting the worker information collected
- designing the collection system to provide extra protections for some of the information that employers would be required to submit under the proposal
- withholding certain fields from public disclosure, and
- using automated software to identify and remove information that reasonably identifies individuals directly.
OSHA says this information, if made public, would “allow employers, employees, potential employees, employee representatives, customers, potential customers, researchers, and the general public to make informed decisions about the workplace safety and health at a given establishment, and this accessibility will ultimately result in the reduction of occupational injuries and illnesses.”
Keep in mind that OSHA is still gathering information on this, and as of April 2022, is seeking comment on all of these proposed changes.
Failure to report results in inspections
In early April 2022, OSHA began a new enforcement program that will identify employers who fail to electronically submit their Form 300A data through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA).
This program matches newly opened inspections against a list of potential non-responders to OSHA’s collection of Form 300A data through the ITA and reports all matches to an appropriate OSHA area office.
If the area office finds the employer on the list is the same establishment where an inspection was opened, OSHA will issue citations for failure to submit Form 300A Summary data.
In an announcement about the new program, OSHA stated it’s also planning to review 2021 submitted data to identify non-responders from the “nation’s largest employers” at a corporate-wide level.
If there was any doubt about how serious OSHA is now taking injury/illness data collection, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker made it clear in the announcement of the enforcement effort.
“We are committed to enforcing this important requirement and will continue to look for strategies to reach full compliance,” Parker said.