OSHA issues final rule on injury reporting

On the school transportation front, the following is a message from OSHA.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued its Final Rule, which requires employers to submit injury and illness records electronically. The directive also stipulates that once the reports are filed, OSHA posts them to the internet.

While the complete analysis of the Final Rule remains ongoing, there are a few highlights that employers should be aware of when starting to the process of compliance.

The Final Rule has changed the requirement of employers with more than 250 employees to file quarterly reports. Now, all companies will report annually. Bear in mind, though, companies in the covered industries with 250 or more employees must submit electronically all injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301.

It is mandatory for companies with 20-249 employees in certain industries, however, to only electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.

In addition, under the whistleblower protections of Section 11(c), OSHA has granted itself the authority to issue citations where an employer has suppressed an employee from reporting an injury.

This can occur regardless of whether an employee has filed a whistleblower claim or not. It must be noted that this directly contradicts the standing statute.

The Final Rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2017, with the exception of two specific provisions: § 1904.35 (Prohibition of Discrimination Against Employees for Reporting a Work-Related Injury or Illness) and § 1904.36 (Prohibition Against Discrimination), which are effective Aug. 10, 2016.

For more information, contact Michael LaPlante, program manager for safety and health at Maine Department of Labor at Michael.a.laplante@maine.gov.