James Hilbert, CPA
In a final ruling to revise the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) places new reporting requirements on employers in certain industries (click here to see the new regulations). While the new regulations took effect August 1 of this year, employers have until November 1, 2016 to prepare for enforcement of the regulations.
What’s in the ruling?
- An anti-retaliation provision which “clarifies the current implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting.” Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for reporting.
- Employees must be informed of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.
- Certain employers must electronically submit some of the injury and illness information already being collected to OSHA.
What to do now?
While the new regulations won’t be enforced until November 1, 2016, employers can take steps now to be prepared:
- Familiarize yourself with the new regulations. OSHA has a helpful FAQ on its website which is a good resource.
- Inform employees of their right to report. Post the OSHA “It’s The Law” worker rights poster from April 2015 or later. (Download the poster by clicking here)
- Update/Establish Reporting Procedures. Most employers likely already have a reporting procedure established. But with the new regulations, an employee must be allowed a reasonable time frame to report work-related injuries or illnesses. If the current procedure requires an employee to immediately report an injury or illness, update the policy by November 1 to allow for a reasonable time frame.
- Review and Revise Drug Testing Policy. OSHA permits drug testing that promotes compliance with state and federal law. However, if the testing only occurs after an accident or claim, it is viewed as a form of retaliation and is prohibited. Drug-testing policies “should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.”
Employers that have already been reporting OSHA Forms 300A, 300, and 301 on paper must now filing the reports electronically, effective January 1, 2017, following the guidelines below.
- All Employers with at least 250 employees (“Large Employers”); and
- Employers with 20 to 249 employees that are in certain industries (“Designated Employers”). Click here to see the list of more than 40 industries identified as high risk.
The electronic reporting requirements are being phased in, as follows:
- 2017 – File only 2016 Form 300A by July 1
- 2018 – File all three types of 2017 Forms by July 1
- 2019 and beyond – File all three types of Forms by March 2
- 2017 & 2018 – File Form 300A by July 1
- 2019 and beyond – File Form 300A by March 2