UPDATE: On November 22, 2017, OSHA announced that it moved the electronic reporting deadline for 2016 data and information from December 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. The following blog post has been updated to reflect this change. No other parts of the new electronic submission regulations were changed.
December 15, 2017 is the final deadline to comply with the newly implemented Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) regulations that require electronically submitting 2016 workplace injury data and information to OSHA. To help navigate these regulations, here are few reminders about this new reporting format that affects almost all construction industry businesses.
What must construction industry businesses submit?
The new regulations require electronic reporting data and information from OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. For data for years 2017 and beyond, certain establishments will also need to provide information from Forms 300 and 301. The new rule, however, does not change the information required to record on these forms or the criteria triggering recording obligations. The rule only requires electronically submitting safety records that OSHA previously required businesses to keep and make available in hard copy format.
Who must submit electronic records?
For reporting 2016 data and information by the December 15, 2017 deadline, the electronic reporting requirement applies to any establishment subject to OSHA record keeping requirements that either has 250 or more workers or has 20 to 249 workers and is in an high risk industry identified by OSHA (construction is one). The same applies to reporting data from 2017 and beyond, plus establishments with 250 or more workers must also submit information from Forms 300 and 301.
What are the current and upcoming submission deadlines?
For workplace injury and illness data collected for year 2016, the deadline for electronic submission is December 15, 2017. For upcoming years, the timing varies. The following chart summarizes existing submission deadlines for establishments subject to OSHA record keeping requirements that either have 250 or more workers or have between 20 and 249 workers and are in a high-risk industry, as identified by OSHA.
How must information be collected, recorded, and reported?
As in the past, businesses must collect and record information and data for each establishment within the company. The new regulations just add submitting that information electronically. OSHA regulations define an establishment as “a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed.” OSHA regulations further explain that “[f]or activities where employees do not work at a single physical location, such as construction; transportation; communications, electric, gas and sanitary services; and similar operations, the establishment is represented by main or branch offices, terminals, stations, etc. that either supervise such activities or are the base from which personnel carry out these activities.”
OSHA provides an online platform for uploading or entering directly the required reporting information and data. To help those new to the system—i.e., almost everyone—OSHA provides a trial platform (called the “sandbox”), where users can become familiar with the platform’s functionality without actually submitting any data or information.
Why does OSHA require electronic submission of summary data?
Simply put—safety. OSHA intends for these new electronic reporting requirements to promote workplace safety by providing publicly available data and information about workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA anticipates that this reporting will:
- help identify particular safety issues common to certain industries (e.g., a specific model of a tool that causes similar injuries to workers across a trade);
- provide information for businesses to compare their safety performance against related and similar companies;
- promote a “race to the top” by allowing business to assess safety performance against industry norms; and
- enhance research efforts regarding workplace safety issues by having nationwide data accessible in one location.
The new electronic reporting requirements make use of a simple, user-friendly system that enhances access to valuable collected and aggregated data and information. In complying with these new reporting requirements, construction industry companies should make sure to report data and information for each and every “establishment” in the company. For more information about understanding the regulatory language and complying with these requirements, businesses are advised to consult with their attorneys.