Posts

OSHA’s Big Change: What Does It Mean For You?

The United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has significantly changed the way that workplace injuries are reported and accounted for. Essentially, workplace injuries and illnesses are now required to be submitted by employers for online publication to a public website. In the past, this information was only revealed to OSHA during the process of inspections or surveys, and now reporting and the unlimited access to that reporting are sure to have a dramatic effect on employers.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

From OSHA’s perspective, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA says, “Our new rule will nudge employers to prevent work injuries, to show investors, job seekers, customers and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities.” Michaels goes on to say. “Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer”.

RETALIATION PENALTIES

In addition to the new reporting, the rule also invokes penalties for employers that take actions deemed retaliatory against employees who report accidents. This particular policy went into effect August 1, 2016 but OSHA began enforcing on November 1, 2016.  The retaliation penalties could mostly effect employers that have safety incentive programs or require drug testing after an accident. Requiring drug testing for those with job related injuries also could be seen as pressure to NOT report an accident. Drug Testing has previously been an invaluable tool when it comes to post accident claims, and a tool to keep companies safe.

THE CHANGES: WHEN AND HOW

The new regulations take place on January 1, 2017 and require employers (based upon size of company) to submit injury and illness data electronically to OSHA.

Employers with more than 20 employees in specified “high-risk” industries, which includes Scheduled Air Transportation and Support Activities for Air Transportation, must submit their FORM 300A by July 1 in 2017 and 2018, and by March 2 every year thereafter.

Employers with more than 250 employees, OSHA is requiring submissions from 2016 and injury recordkeeping Form 300A by July 1, 2017. Then the following year these employers are required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300 and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, and for future years, the information must be submitted by March 2nd.

Click here http://bit.ly/2ePzE4y for more information about all industries effected.

GETTING PREPARED

Of course we can help prepare you and your company for the challenges that come with the new OSHA Rules, but in the meantime, the following details the first, four steps that are essential.

  1. Update injury and illness reporting procedures.
  2. If you do not currently have injury and illness reporting procedures in place, then create them.
  3. Eliminate automatic post injury drug testing and replace it with a policy that requires an individual assessment of each employee and accident.
  4. Train staff on identifying impaired employees and how to document any incidents that may trigger OSHA reporting.

Marking a complete departure from the current practices, OSHA is requiring much of employers, and we are here to help.

Keeping our Clients informed and educated is a cornerstone of our Professional Client Care® program. As always, feel free to call us to discuss this issue.