The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered its inspectors to crack down on employers who failed to electronically file their 300A, 300 Log and 301 injury report forms.
Because of confusion over implementation of the rule, OSHA said that for 2017, employers who came under the regulation only needed to file their 2016 form 300A. The deadline for filing their 300A forms containing 2016 data was then set for July 1, 2017, which later was postponed to December 15 and then again to December 30.
During the lead-up to the December 30 deadline, 60,000 accounts were created on OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application on its website and 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 file.
According to OSHA, a little more than a third of workplaces that were required to respond did not file the reports. As of January 1, 2018, OSHA no longer accepted the 2016 data and it’s now too late for those employers who did not do so to submit their 2016 form 300A.
In February 2018, OSHA instructed its compliance officers to initiate inquiries into whether workplaces had electronically filed their 300A forms for 2016. If the compliance officer learns about an employer’s failure to file, OSHA will issue an other-than-serious citation. The maximum penalty for each other-than-serious violation can be as high as $12,934.
But, OSHA only has six months from December 15th, 2017 to issue citations to those employers who are found to have failed to electronically file the required information. That means their deadline to issue citations is June 15, 2018.
They agency also said that it will conduct a mass mailing outreach to employers who did not submit their 300A forms to inform them further of their obligations under the regulation. In addition, OSHA confirmed that it intends to use the data gathered from these forms to develop inspection-targeting similar to its site-specific targeting.
At the time OSHA developed the electronic reporting rule, the agency declared its intention was not to publish personally identifiable information that is normally included on forms 300 and 301. Under the new administration, OSHA has come to the conclusion that in reality it can’t guarantee the non-release of personal information. For this reason, OSHA is unable to publish the injury and illness data. And since they cannot publish it, none of the potential benefits derived from publication of the collected data would be realized.
OSHA reportedly plans to advance a proposal to eliminate the electronic filing requirements that employers with 250 or more employees must electronically submit their OSHA 300 logs of work-related injuries and illnesses, and 301 injury and illness incident reports. Only the 300A summary of work-related injuries and illnesses would be filed in that manner.
In anticipation of the new rule, for the time being OSHA is not accepting electronic OSHA 300 logs or 301 forms. Instead, only two types of establishments are expected to continue submitting 300A summary forms electronically: those with 250 or more employees, as well as those with between 20 and 249 employees in high-hazard industries who are expected to submit their calendar year 2017 summaries by July 1, 2018. After that, beginning in 2019 and for every year afterwards, these worksites would be required to submit the information by March 2.
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