OSHA Indefinitely Postpones Electronic Reporting Rule

OSHA Indefinitely Postpones the Electronic Reporting Rule

With their Electronic Reporting Rule, OSHA intended to require certain employers to begin filing their OSHA 300A Injury Summaries electronically beginning July 1, 2017. As of Wednesday, May 24th however, OSHA has postponed the filing requirement for an indefinite period of time.

It is unclear at this time whether OSHA intends other changes to either the Electronic Recordkeeping and Reporting Rule or the Obama administration’s plan to post electronically submitted injury records on OSHA’s website.

The rule, which became effective in May 2016, contained the much-contested “anti-retaliation” requirements. This section of the rule reads:

“The final rule includes three new provisions in § 1904.35. These provisions follow directly and logically from the August 14, 2014 Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. First, the final rule amends paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1)(iii) to require employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.

Second, paragraph (b)(1)(i) of the final rule clarifies that the reporting method already implicitly required by this section must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting. And third, paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of the final rule prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses under section 1904.35 consistent with the existing prohibition contained in section 11(c) of the OSH Act.” 

OSHA’s implementation of this rule has been interpreted by many employers as severely restricting post-accident drug and alcohol testing to the point of harming the rights of employers instead of protecting employees’ ability to report workplace injuries and illnesses. The anti-retaliation portion of the rule also prohibited injury incident-based safety incentive programs.

These requirements officially became effective on August 10, 2016, with enforcement beginning December 1, 2016, and are not affected by this postponement, however.

Two lawsuits filed in federal court by employer groups are attempting to have the entire rule tossed out. Both cases are pending and do not currently impact the enforcement of this rule, though that could change as the cases move forward. The postponement does not mean that things automatically go back to the way they were prior to last May, though. OSHA could issue a new start date for the Electronic Reporting Rule at any time, and the anti-retaliation requirements are still in place, pending results of the challenges to them in court. 

For now, however, no electronic reporting is required. We will continue to monitor OSHA and follow the progress of the Electronic Reporting Rule. As more details and updates emerge about this postponement, we will be sure to let you know about them so you may continue to remain 100% compliant with your small business.

If you have any questions about OSHA regulations, compliance, and how they affect you and your small business, or how a PEO can help, let us know in the comments, or get in touch with us! Our experts here at Employers Resource would love to help so you can stop worrying and get back to what you’re best at: running your small business.

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