June 20, 2016 | Industry Insights, Insights
What Does OSHA’s New Reporting Rule Mean for the Transportation Industry?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new rule last month that will affect the way transportation companies and other businesses report injury and illnesses to the agency. Presently, most employers unless specifically exempt, are required to maintain injury and illness reporting records on a log (Form 300) with supporting documentation. Each employer summarizes this information annually using OSHA Form 300A, which is then posted in the workplace from February 1 to April 30. Besides serious injuries that require immediate reporting, such as amputations, fatalities, or accidents requiring hospitalization, employers have not been required to submit injury and illness data to OSHA. Under OSHA’s new rule, many businesses will now have to submit injury and illness information to OSHA electronically. Moreover, OSHA will post this information online on its website.
The businesses affected are those with 250 or more employees. These businesses will have to submit the annual summary form 300A electronically by July 1, 2017; submit the Forms 300, 301, and 300A electronically by July 1, 2018; and then submit Forms 300, 301, and 300A by March 2 annually thereafter.
Businesses with 20-249 employees in “high-hazard” industries, which include transportation companies among the sectors on the OSHA list, must also submit information electronically. These businesses need only submit Form 300A by July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, and then continue submission of Form 300A each year by March 2 thereafter.
The reporting rule is not the only thing has changed. OSHA also published changes in its final rule, effective August 10, 2016, that affect all employers, regardless of size:
- Employers must establish a “reasonable” procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses, and inform employees of that procedure. The rule states “[a] procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.”
- Employers must inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.
- The rule also adds a provision prohibiting discrimination against an employee for reporting a work-related injury, filing a safety or health complaint, or asking to see the employer’s injury and illness logs.
The business community has several concerns about these new provisions. Among the concerns is that the public will now have access to the information online, including competitors, prospective employees, shareholders, union organizers and disgruntled former employees, who can use this against the company to do reputational damage. Other concerns involve the potential for cyber security issues, although OSHA has said Personally Identifiable Information will be removed before the data it receives is released on its website. Many also believe there’s a potential for unprecedented opportunities for significant citations and penalties. The Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. (RIMS) in reaction to the ruling stated that inaccurate safety ratings and reporting redundancies will result from the new rule.
In addition, the rule regarding “reasonable” procedures is targeted at employers’ safety incentive plans. If an employer has a safety incentive plan wherein employees get a bonus, or days off, or an award, if the employee, department, or company has a certain number of days without injury, employees may be reticent to report injuries and illnesses. The new rule is designed to eliminate these types of incentive plans.
It’s important, therefore, for all employers, regardless of size, to review your handbooks, safety incentive plans, and incident reporting policies to ensure you provide a “reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses.”
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