OSHA is always looking for ways to improve the reporting process while keeping workers as safe as possible. For 2017, they’ve made some changes that should result in better data for everyone, as well as increased safety measures across the board.
With the new regulations set to take place on January 1, 2017, here’s what you need to know.
1. New Electronic Submission Rules for Big Employers
Employers, if you have 250 or more employees, it’s time to get up to speed on digital record keeping. Starting January 1, 2017, you’ll need to submit all Form 300 information electronically. That includes forms 300A, 300 and 301. Your due date for that electronic submission for 2017 is July 1, 2018.
Starting in 2019, form 300 submissions will be due earlier: March 2.
The main driver for this regulation is the capability to make safety data available to the public, thereby encouraging businesses to pay even more attention to their safety records. This stems from an Executive Order on government transparency based on principles of Behavioral Science to better serve the American people.
“Don’t fear transparency. Embrace it. A focus on safety − even in the glare of public scrutiny − will not only help your workers, it will also improve your bottom line.”
Paul O’Neill, former secretary of the treasury and former CEO of ALCOA
2. New Due Dates for Small Employers
Smaller establishments (20-249 employees), you are off the hook for the required digital submission but you have some changes as well.
If your industry is one of certain high risk industries, then starting in 2019 your new due date for Forms 300A, 300 or 301 will be March 2, same as the big companies. Until then, your due date is July 1 of the following year.
3. New Anti-Retaliation Rules
These rules have been in effect since August but only this December OSHA is enforcing them. Employers are not allowed to discourage their employees from doing their own reporting of workplace injuries or illnesses.
In fact, employers are required to keep everyone informed about their right to do so. Furthermore, that right must be accompanied by assurance that there will be no retaliation by the employer.
The required poster makes it all very clear. The main driver for this regulation is increased accuracy of data: when more employees are self-reporting incidents, there’s more data to work with and industries have a more complete picture of the safety scene.
Having a reporting system that’s too complicated or cumbersome counts as discouraging your employees from reporting incidents. That’s a very strong case for making sure you have the best EHS software. EHS Insight offers comprehensive, user-friendly systems that can be tailored to your industry and your business. And because they’re up-and-ready in just days, you can see improvements almost instantly: in OSHA compliance, reporting and every aspect of EHS.