The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on April 30 that employers in state plans are now required to file their injury and illness reports using the federal agency’s online portal, even if their states have not adopted the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation.
OSHA had previously required only employers in state plans that had adopted the regulation’s requirements to submit their data to the federal agency—an oversight it only learned of recently. The tracking rule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.
Of the 22 state plans in existence, only those in seven states—California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Wyoming—have yet to adopt the rule.
OSHA also has clarified that all covered employers in these states are required to submit their 2017 300A form by July 1, 2018. There will be no retroactive requirement for employers covered by state plans that haven’t adopted a state rule to submit data for 2016. Also, OSHA said it is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time.
As written, the regulation adopted earlier had required employers with 250 or more employees at each establishment to submit all their injury and illness recordkeeping forms—300A, 300 Log and corresponding 301 Forms—through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application portal.
As a result of changes made since then by OSHA, the only data employers are currently required to submit is the 2017 300A Form, for both federal jurisdiction and state plans—now whether or not the state has adopted the new regulation.
Change is on the way, and OSHA under the Trump Administration is mulling various possible changes to the Obama-era electronic filing rule, including the possibility of eliminating it entirely. It plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data.
In the meantime, OSHA has told its inspectors to crack down on the estimated more than 200,000 employers who failed to file their reports for 2016. More than 214,000 of the 300A forms were submitted. However, this fell far short of the 350,000 submissions (excluding state plans) that OSHA had expected to be filed by employers for 2016.
The rule currently applies to establishments with 250 or more employees and those with 20 to 249 employees in specified industries that OSHA said have historically high injury and illness rates.
“We anticipate that OSHA will revise the requirements for employers with 250 or more employees per establishment and simply require all covered employers to submit their 300A Form to OSHA on an annual basis,” says attorney Tressi L. Cordaro of the law firm of Jackson Lewis.