Monday, June 6, 2016

New Federal OSHA Reporting Rules

Federal OSHA’s final rule on injury reporting policies will be effective January 2017. This rule does not change what information is currently collected; rather it changes how the information is reported and, for the first time, this information will be publicized on-line. 

NOTE: Minnesota OSHA must still adopt its rules for our state based on the new federal rule.  State rules must be as strict as or stricter than the federal rules.  As a result, the following is the MINIMUM you can expect to see in the Minnesota OSHA rules when they are adopted.


The new federal OSHA rules apply only to certain types of cities:

If yours is a city or municipal entity of 250 or more employees including paid on call fire, police, EMS or other “volunteers” who, if injured, would be covered under MN Workers’ Compensation rules, then this new rule will apply to you.  In addition, employers with between 20 to 249 employees in “certain high risk industries” such as utilities, solid waste collection, water or wastewater treatment, healthcare facilities, amusement parks and arcades, or transit systems just to name a few, then your entity will likely also need to comply.

Cities subject to the new rule must:

  1. Begin electronic submission of employee injury records: OSHA 300, 300A and 301.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) currently ask only a few employers to submit their OSHA 300 logs.  Under the new regulation, all affected employers will submit electronic records.  The forms remain the same: OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses; Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses; and OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report.
  2. Public, searchable database of employers’ history of work injuries. According to the Federal Assistant Secretary of Labor, "Our new rule will 'nudge' employers to prevent work injuries to show investors, job seekers, customers, and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable 'big data' researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer."
  3. Incentive program cautions.  Employee incentive programs, for example prizes for no lost time, get implemented by safety committees or management to reduce workplace injuries.  These programs often backfire and actually cause employees, through peer pressure and or management pressure, not to report injuries.  OSHA has a long history of frowning on incentive programs.  The new regulation narrowly defines what OSHA will consider acceptable.  “OSHA encourages incentive programs that promote worker participation in safety-related activities, such as identifying hazards or participating in investigations of injuries, incidents, or “near misses.””
  4. Informing employees of their rights under the rule.  Employers must establish a reporting procedure that does not deter or discourage an employee from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.  Federal “OSHA already prohibits any person from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee who reports a fatality, injury, or illness. However, currently OSHA may not act under that section unless an employee files a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the retaliation.” In contrast, “under the final rule, OSHA will be able to cite an employer for retaliation even if the employee did not file a complaint, or if the employer has a program that deters or discourages reporting through the threat of retaliation.”

For your reading pleasure, here is a link to the new Federal rule: Federal Recordkeeping and Reporting Occupational Injuries.  

By: Cheryl Brennan

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