We came across the article “OSHA Lessens reporting Obligation for Most Employers” by David Sparkman, published on www.ehstoday.com. This article covers the revised rules regarding employer electronic injury and illness record keeping. The new revision no longer mandates that employers electronically submit Forms 300 and 301. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Employers with 250 or more employees or those with 20 to 249 employees in a high hazard industry must still electronically submit Form 300A each year.
According to the article, the main reason for this revision is for the protection of privacy. The old rule required employers to electronically publish 300 logs and 301 forms on the OSHA website. Although employee names and personal information was removed, employers argued that the reports could still easily give away personal information. They referenced the fact that reported details about the type of injury or illness, medical treatment, and mechanism of injury could result in the identification of the involved employee. It was also mentioned that the requirement for employer information to be reported served as a form of public shaming.
There are many groups on both sides of the issue who disapprove of the new rule. Certain unions benefitted from the publicly displayed data and will most likely challenge the new rule. The state of California is also concerned about OSHA getting rid of or lowering some requirements for the submission of injury and illness data. Cal/OSHA may go about implementing changes to protect the goals of data submission if they determine it to be necessary.
On the other side of the spectrum, some employers believe that the new rule has failed to make significant changes. For example, according to Eric J. Conn and Daniel C. Deacon of Conn Maciel Carey LLP, only a small number of workplaces ever needed to submit 300 and 301 level data. They point out that employers will still need to submit injury data, and for most of them, the type of data has not changed. Among other things, they would also like changes to be made to lower the number of employers burdened by the reporting rule.
Regardless of your stance, it is important to familiarize yourself with the new rule.