Questions have arisen about whether the Trump administration has weakened the OSHA electronic injury reporting rule because there appear to be few (if any) penalties tied to not reporting. That’s changed.
First, some background on who’s been reporting injuries electronically to OSHA and the apparent (lack of) consequences for not complying.
OSHA expected about 460,000 establishments to file the electronic forms. Just under 249,000 did – a 54% compliance rate.
The consequences for not filing were minor. OSHA can only cite employers for alleged reporting violations less than six months old. And when OSHA has cited employers for failing to file forms, it’s been classified as an other-than-serious violation, the lowest category with the lowest (if any) monetary penalty.
But a consequence of not reporting has just been announced in OSHA’s new Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program. OSHA will target high injury rate establishments in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors (but not construction).
Reason not to report, right? Not necessarily, because OSHA will also inspect employers the agency believes should have provided Form 300A data electronically, but didn’t for calendar year 2016 injuries.
So not reporting may actually increase a facility’s chance of getting visited by an OSHA inspector.
OSHA says in its announcement about the new SST, “Inclusion of these non-responding employers is intended to discourage employers from not reporting injury and illness information in order to avoid inspection.”
And if a facility is inspected, it would be comprehensive in scope. The OSHA Area Office Director would decide whether to conduct a safety or health inspection depending on the nature of the business. It could be both safety and health if a site has been inspected previously.
Who has to file the electronic forms? Establishments with:
- 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and
- 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses.
SST visits are just one type of OSHA programmed inspection. OSHA also uses its national, regional and local emphasis programs (NEP, REP and LEP) to target high-risk hazards and industries. OSHA currently has NEPs focused on:
- process safety management
- hazardous machinery
- hexavalent chromium
- primary metal industries, and
- combustible dust.
There are also about 100 REPs and LEPs.