OSHA Recordkeeping Rule Updates: What’s New in 2019
Maintaining a safe workplace is an ongoing process, both for employers and regulatory agencies. Since 1971, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been on the frontlines of workplace safety compliance and regularly updates its Standards in response to new risks, challenges and opportunities to reduce the rate of serious workplace injuries.
While OSHA provides hundreds of useful resources like its annual list of Top Ten OSHA Violations to help employers prevent and reduce workplace accidents, the surest way to keep workers safe is to stay in the know about OSHA’s regulatory updates.
To help you prepare, let’s take a look at some important rule changes for 2019:
Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Records
When workplace injuries happen, many employers with 10 or more employees are required to provide OSHA with greater context about the accident. Recordkeeping requirements help OSHA respond to workplace injuries and illnesses with a more complete understanding of the circumstances. The threshold for reporting is straightforward – any incident that results in a loss of consciousness, restricted work activity, days away from work, or medical treatment beyond first-aid, must be submitted to OSHA.
What has Changed?
Originally, OSHA rolled out its electronic recordkeeping standards to promote workplace safety, as the agency believed making injury data publicly available would “nudge” employers toward more proactive safety measures. However, the agency realized that workers’ sensitive information could be easily exposed by a routine Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. To protect worker privacy, OSHA decided to amend its recordkeeping rules.
OSHA’s 2019 recordkeeping update takes some of the burden off employers by easing up on injury and illness reporting Standards. Here’s what’s new:
- Businesses with 250 or more employees are no longer required to electronically submit the OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) or the OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). This not only reduces time spent on submission preparation, it also protects your employees’ information from the risks of public disclosure.
- Under the new guidelines, employers with more than 10 (11+) employees only have to submit the OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) through OHSA’s secure Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Note: The requirement to keep and maintain OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 for five (5) years has not changed by this Final Rule.
How the New Rules Benefit Employees and Employers
OSHA’s decision to modify its recordkeeping rules has 3 tangible benefits for you and your employees.
- Personal Information Privacy for Workers
Injured workers will no longer have to worry about their personal information being publicly disclosed because an illness or injury was reported to OSHA. This significantly reduces the chances of identity theft and prioritizes your employees’ privacy rights.
- Less Required Documentation for Employers
OSHA recognized that the reporting burden on employers was too heavy considering the uncertain benefits of collecting the information in the first place. Submitting multiple forms electronically takes time and effort. This will allow you to focus on the health and safety of your employees instead of the tedious task of filling out digital submission forms.
- New Safety Programs
OSHA realized that its existing, rigorous recordkeeping rules were not cost-effective as they diverted the agency’s resources away from important workplace safety initiatives. This rule amendment will create a net economic cost savings of $8.75 million per year. This cost savings will be reinvested toward expanding OSHA’s safety education and outreach programs.