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OSHA's New Rule Enhances Workplace Safety Transparency: Key Changes, Requirements, and Employer Takeaways



The U.S. Department of Labor has recently announced a final rule, found here, that expands the submission requirements for injury and illness data provided by certain employers in high-hazard industries. The rule, effective starting January 1, 2024, mandates electronic submission of information already required to be kept by employers in designated industries to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


Key Changes and Requirements:


Electronic Submission for High-Hazard Industries:


●      Establishments with 100 or more employees in specific high-hazard industries must submit information annually, including Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report.

●      This requirement is in addition to the existing submission of Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.


Data Quality Improvement:


●      To enhance data quality, establishments must include their legal company name when making electronic submissions to OSHA.


Public Access to Workplace Safety Data:


●      OSHA will publish collected data on its website, allowing various stakeholders, including employers, employees, potential employees, customers, researchers, and the general public, to access information about a company's workplace safety and health record.

●      The goal is to empower stakeholders to make informed decisions, ultimately reducing occupational injuries and illnesses.


Purpose of Data Collection:


●      OSHA intends to use the data to intervene through strategic outreach and enforcement to reduce worker injuries and illnesses in high-hazard industries.

●      The collected information will provide insights at the industry level, aiding the safety and health community, workers, and employers in making informed decisions about workplace safety.


Retained Requirements:


Current Electronic Submission Requirements:


●      Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-hazard industries and those with 250 or more employees in industries routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records will continue to electronically submit information from Form 300A.


Implementation Timeline and Access:


●      The final rule went into effect January 1, 2024.

●      Employers can access the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) by March 2 each year to submit required information from the prior calendar year to OSHA.


Key Takeaways for Employers:


Applicability:


●      The update applies to employers under Federal OSHA and approved state plans.


Publicly Available Data:

●      OSHA plans to publish data on its website, ensuring transparency.

●      OSHA will protect individuals' privacy by removing information that could reasonably identify individuals directly.


Accurate Record-Keeping:


●      Employers must ensure accurate completion of OSHA forms and strategize to minimize recordable injuries and illnesses.


Increased Visibility:


●      With heightened visibility, employers should anticipate improved data quality and accuracy to avoid violations.

●      OSHA aims to use collected information to identify patterns, allocate resources effectively, and develop workplace safety standards.


The new OSHA rule represents a significant step towards achieving the agency's objectives of enhancing workplace safety and health. Employers must stay informed, comply with the updated requirements, and proactively contribute to creating safer work environments. The increased transparency is expected to benefit both employers and workers in making informed decisions about workplace safety.

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