OSHA’s Final Rule: What it Means for Employers

The new year brings new opportunities for change. And, that’s just what the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to see in 2017 when it comes to recordkeeping.

Starting January 18th, 2017, OSHA’s final rule on recordkeeping will go into effect. The new rule created a lot of confusion last year. This ultimately led to OSHA releasing its final rule on December 19, 2016.  It clarified for employers that maintaining accurate records must be an “ongoing obligation.”

So, what does this new rule mean for employers? Here are 6 things you need to know.

1. Electronic submission

The new rule will require certain employers to electronically submit worker illness and injury data. It does not require employers to keep any new records of illness or injuries. The new rule simply requests certain employers, based on size and industry, to submit data electronically.

Who should submit electronically?

According to OSHA, “All establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.”

2. Anti-retaliation 

The new rule highlights an important topic, retaliation. To make sure employers are providing accurate records, OSHA is requiring employers to inform their workers of their right to report illnesses and injuries free of retaliation.

3. Public information

OSHA believes the best way to improve workplace safety is to make injury information available to the public. They hope it will “nudge employers to focus on safety.”

4. Incentive programs

The new rule doesn’t say employers can’t offer incentive programs. However, it does prohibit employers from using incentive programs to discourage workers from reporting workplace illnesses and injuries.

5. Post-injury Drug Testing

The new rule will not interfere with employee drug testing. It does prohibit employers from using drug testing, or the threat of drug testing as retaliation against workers for reporting illnesses and injuries.

6. Citations

OSHA will be able to cite employers for up to six months after five-year record retention period expires.

If you would like to know more about OSHA’s final rule, click here.

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