New OSHA Injury and Illness Reporting Rule

What You Should Know About a Requirement That Could Impact Millions of Businesses

12 December 2017

This year, OSHA implemented a new Injury and Illness Tracking Rule that will likely impact your business in some hidden ways. The new rule requires electronic reporting of injury and illness data for every business establishment with 250 or more employees, and certain businesses with 20 to 250 employees that OSHA considers to be in "high-risk" industries. In addition to expected high-risk industries like construction and manufacturing, the list also includes some unexpected businesses, such as retailers, warehouses, lessors of real estate, and hotels. So, if you are a small business, be sure to check your industry to see if you are in the high-risk category.

The new rule requires large and high-risk businesses to electronically submit information that they are currently reporting on their OSHA 300/300A logs. The deadline for submission of 2016 data was extended to December 15, 2017; however, next year's deadline will be July 1, 2018 (for 2017 data). Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2. The new rule won't require much additional administrative burden as businesses are already required to manually collect and post this data in their establishment each year. OSHA released an electronic reporting tool on August 1 that should be used for reporting this data. You can access the OSHA Injury Tracking Application at: https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html

The hidden impact is that OSHA intends to publish this data on their website for all to see. The agency hopes to drive enhanced compliance through "behavioral economics," as companies with poor safety records may see customers and prospective employees making buying decisions based on this data. A similar approach has worked very well with the publishing of health department inspection records for restaurants, with foodborne illnesses going down and revenues for "A" rated restaurants going up.

OSHA will also likely utilize this data to target specific businesses for inspection. Currently, OSHA only requests injury and illness logs when performing an inspection, so the agency does not have a great "radar" for targeting specific businesses with poor safety records, unless they have received employee complaints or incurred fatalities or other major reportable events.

You can review the new rule at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/05/12/2016-10443/improve-tracking-of-workplace-injuries-and-illnesses

For assistance in determining the potential impact on your business or for compliance assistance, contact our Environmental Engineering team at 800-967-5352

Steve Long has more than 29 years of experience as both an engineer and geologist. As Principal-in-Charge of Intertek-PSI's environmental services division, he is in charge of oversight of the environmental programs at the highest level. This includes implementation of quality assurance programs, preparation of technical design and report preparation standards, auditing of operations, assisting with complex technical projects, and assuring that all Intertek-PSI projects meet internal quality requirements and client expectations.