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OSHA issued a Trade Release on April 30, 2018 requiring employers in states with approved state OSHA plans to submit occupational injury and illness data to OSHA via the Injury Tracking Application (ITA), even if the state had not already implemented its own electronic reporting requirements.

Let’s take a closer look at this new release and its implications for compliance with OSHA’s electronic reporting requirements.

 The Background

OSHA issued its final rule “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” in 2016. The rule, commonly known as “the electronic reporting rule” requires certain establishments already subject to OSHA recordkeeping requirements to electronically transmit information from their injury and illness recordkeeping forms directly to OSHA via the ITA.

Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep injury and illness records under the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard, as well as establishments with 20-249 employees that are also covered by the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard and operating in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses are now required to submit that data electronically.

While the rule initially required facilities with 250 or more employees to electronically report data from the 300 and 301 forms in addition to the 300A beginning with the 2017 calendar year data submission, OSHA is now stating they are only collecting 300A data for all facilities subject to the electronic reporting requirement. Reporting applicability and deadlines are summarized in the table below.

Submission Year Establishments with 250 or more employees Certain establishments with 20-249 employees Submission deadline
2017 Form 300A Form 300A Dec 15, 2017
2018 Form 300A Form 300A July 1, 2018
2019 Form 300A Form 300A March 2, 2019

While OSHA had previously indicated that states with approved OSHA plans would need to develop and implement their own version of the rule, they had not clarified expectations regarding the timing of when data from these states would need to be submitted. Therefore, employers in affected states may have assumed that data did not need to be submitted until their respective state had implemented its own electronic reporting rule.

What Has Changed?

OSHA states in the Trade Release that “Section 18(c)(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and relevant OSHA regulations pertaining to State Plans, require all affected employers to submit injury and illness data in the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) online portal, even if the employer is covered by a State Plan that has not completed adoption of their own state rule. “ Therefore, OSHA maintains that instead of waiting until after they’ve adopted a reporting rule, affected states must submit their calendar year 2017 electronic 300A data to OSHA by July 1, 2018 via the ITA.

The Trade Release also states that OSHA immediately notified State OSHAs about the expectation to comply with the deadline, and posted a notice on their ITA page.

 What about Calendar Year 2016 data?

Within the Trade Release, OSHA clarifies that “there will be no retroactive requirement for employers covered by State Plans that have not adopted a state rule to submit data for Calendar Year 2016.” It is only 2017 300A data that employers in affected states must submit by July 1, 2018.

 What States are Most Affected?

The states with approved OSHA plans that have not yet adopted an electronic reporting rule, and which will now be required to submit calendar year 2017 data to OSHA by July 1, 2018 based on OSHA’s news release, are:

  • California
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Those states with approved OSHA plans that had already adopted their own electronic reporting rules are of course also expected to comply with the reporting deadline, although that requirement had already been established prior to this news release.

To check the status of any state’s adoption of the electronic reporting rule, please see OSHA’s state adoption table and periodically check it for updates.

What Now?

Not all affected states are in agreement with OSHA’s Trade Release. On May 2, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services asserted “The electronic reporting requirement does not apply to Wyoming OSHA covered employers despite an April 30, 2018 OSHA news release stating all employers across the country are subject to the rule.” The statement goes on to indicate that the state filed its own proposed electronic reporting rule with the Secretary of State on April 20, 2018 and will be taking comments from the public until June 4, 2018.

It remains to be seen how OSHA will resolve disagreements with affected states over the reporting requirement. However, it is fair to conclude that the new Trade Release demonstrates that OSHA is prioritizing collecting injury and illness data through the ITA. This should be considered in the context of OSHA’s recent findings that they received far fewer electronic reports than anticipated for the 2016 calendar year. All employers would be well-advised to review their own electronic reporting requirements and ensure they are in compliance with the electronic reporting rule.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Since there have been a number of revisions, changed deadlines and clarifications since OSHA originally issued the electronic reporting rule, we advise continuing to check OSHA’s ITA page for updates that may affect your business.

To further help companies and EHS professionals understand the electronic reporting rule and their compliance obligations under it, VelocityEHS has created a variety of free educational resources aimed at clearing up any confusion around the new reporting requirements.

  • Our OSHA ITA Cheat Sheet offers a complete overview of key requirements and submission deadlines, along with important information to help guide you through the ITA submission process and keep you in compliance.
  • Want a more detailed explanation of how to use OSHA’s new ITA system? Listen to our On-Demand Webinar for a better understanding of the ITA submission process and how to edit data once it’s entered.
  • Finally, the OSHA Recordkeeping Infographic helps simplify the process of determining which workplace incidents are OSHA recordable or reportable.

Let VelocityEHS Help!

The VelocityEHS Incident Management solution makes it easy for employers and employees to more accurately record workplace incidents, near-misses and hazards of all types, and automatically generate your OSHA forms 300, 300A, and 301. Our solution even allows users to generate and export properly formatted injury and illness summary reports to .csv file for instant electronic submission to the ITA.

In addition, the easy-to-use VelocityEHS Mobile App allows workers to instantly report incidents, near misses and hazards as they occur – with or without internet connectivity – via a smartphone or tablet device. With a more robust system in place, employers can rest assured knowing the information being submitted is accurate and being correctly submitted to the ITA.

Let VelocityEHS help you take the anxiety out of compliance with OSHA’s electronic reporting rule, and give you the tools you need to improve incident management and build a safer workplace. To learn how, Request a Demo or give us a call at 1.866.919.7922