On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule (Rule) establishing new reporting requirements for employers. The primary objective of the Rule is to require most employers to electronically submit to OSHA information from their injury logs (OSHA 300), their year-end summary of injuries (OSHA 300A) and their individual incident reports (OSHA 301) on an annual basis. OSHA will then post the reported information on a publicly accessible web page.

The Rule divides employers (termed "establishments") into three categories: (1) those establishments that are subject to reporting regulations and have employed 250 or more employees at any time during the previous calendar year; (2) those establishments that have employed 20 or more employees but fewer than 250 employees at any time during the previous calendar year but only in certain designated industries; and (3) those establishments that are not required to submit electronically under either of the first two categories.

For those establishments with 250 or more employees that are in industries already covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping regulations, the establishments will be required to electronically report at least some portion of the information from forms 300, 300A and 301. For establishments in certain designated industries with 20 employees or more but fewer than 250 employees, the Rule requires they must electronically report information from their 300A annual summary form. For the third group, those establishments must report information from one or more of forms 300, 300A or 301 if requested by OSHA. Electronic reporting obligations contained in the new regulations go into effect on January 1, 2017. Reporting shall be on or before July 1, 2017 (for CY 2016, but only for 300A forms for both categories that are required to electronically report) and on or before July 1, 2018 (for CY 2017). Reports for calendar years after 2017 will be due not later than March 2 of the following calendar year.

In addition to the new electronic reporting obligations described above, the Rule also formalizes protections for those employees who report injuries or illnesses that are job related. 29 CFR 1904.35-36 sets out requirements which included: informing employees that they have a right to report work-related injuries or illnesses to the employer free from any retaliation; formalizing the employee injury/illness reporting procedures so that the employees are not discouraged from reporting; and, formalizing the prohibitions against discrimination against employees who report injuries and illnesses to their employer. The requirements contained in 29 CFR 1904.35-36 are effective August 10, 2016.

OSHA intends that no information that might identify the sick or injured employee is to be reported. OSHA also asserts that no new recording is required, and that the only new requirement is the electronic reporting. OSHA estimates the economic cost of the rule at $15 million per year. Each establishment should review the Rule in its entirety to determine what portions of the Rule impact that establishment. To view the Rule in its entirety, with rulemaking comments and other explanations, please click on the following link: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-05-12/pdf/2016-10443.pdf.The actual amendments to Part 1904 are on the final four pages of the document. For OSHA's perspective on the Rule, see https://blog.dol.gov/2016/05/11/transparent-data-will-make-workplaces-safer/.