July-August 2016

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28 PalletCentral • July-August 2016 n May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rule modernizing injury and illness (I/I) data collection and requiring that most OSHA- regulated employers submit their mandatory OSHA forms on an annual basis, effective July 1, 2017. The forms that must be submitted vary by company size and type, as explained below. The original proposal would have required larger employees to submit data on a quarterly basis, rather than annually. OSHA's regulations require employers with more than 10 employees in most industries to keep records of occupational I/I at their establishments, but only those with 20 or more workers are affected by the e-Recordkeeping requirements in the new rule. It does not change the recording criteria or definitions that were previously codified in 29 CFR Part 1904. While employers will have to file data annually through the forthcoming electronic data entry system, they will still be obligated under 29 CFR Part 1904 to maintain the OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301, to make them available to inspectors upon request, and to post the Form 300A (Annual Injury and Illness Summary Log) in the workplace between February 1st and April 30th of the following calendar year. The reports must cover injuries and illnesses affecting full and part time employees, seasonal workers as well as temporary workers who are supervised in their work activities by the host employer. All of these workers count toward the "total" number of employees, for purposes of the reporting thresholds contained in the rule. OSHA clarified that if an enterprise or corporate office has control over one or more establishments required to electronically submit their data, the corporate office can collect and electronically submit the information for its establishments. In addition to the electronic reporting requirements, the rule adds provisions clarifying employees' rights to report I/I to their employer without fear of retaliation, supplementing the rights provided by Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). The rule clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related I/I that does not deter workers from filing such reports. This portion of the rule applies in all OSHA-regulated workplaces, effective August 10, 2016. OSHA said that it is applying "behavioral economics" to improve workplace safety. Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels, stated: "Our new reporting requirements will 'nudge' employers to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities." Currently, employers can obtain data from OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics about injury and illness rates by industry sector, but not by comparison to other specific employers. All data will appear, in a searchable format, on the agency website: The agency says that Sections 8 and 24 of the OSH Act require employers to make available records that the Secretary of Labor prescribes by regulation, and that OSHA is required by statute to compile, analyze and publish injury data. While OSHA has not previously made I/I data available by employer name, nor searchable on its website by company, its sister agency MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) has done some for years, albeit in a more limited manner. OSHA plans to use the data it receives from employers to target both enforcement resources (e.g., the site-specific targeting approach to programmed OSHA inspections) and to offer compliance assistance at establishments where workers are at risk. The data collection effort will also facilitate research on occupational injuries and illnesses and enable the SAFETY O OSHA's Electronic Recordkeeping Final Rule Analysis By Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. One way is to post the OSHA's "Job Safety and Health – It's the Law poster" found online.

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