What Safety Regulations Apply to Your Business?

September 5, 2017

OSHA Extends Electronic Form 300A Filing Compliance Date

The extension is being made to give the new administration an opportunity to review reporting requirements.

At the end of June, OSHA filed a proposal to delay the compliance date of its rule entitled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.” The initial deadline “by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A to OSHA electronically” was originally set for July 1, 2017. The action extends the submission deadline to December 1, 2017.

Waiting for the New Administration

The Department of Labor announced that it was extending the deadline “to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation and allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, which will not be available until August.” This rule would simply require that employers with 250 or more employees and those with at least 20 employees in certain high-risk industries start to submit electronically information already being kept in their OHSA logs. (For establishments OSHA deems high-risk, please see this list:

https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/ NAICScodesforelectronicsubmission.pdf)

Lack of Resources

“They just don’t have the resources right now to be able to put all that into place,” Edwin Foulke, an Atlanta-based partner at Fisher & Phillips L.L.P. and a former OSHA assistant secretary of labor told Business Insurance. “To me, it seemed like it was a stretch anyway to require all this. The (Occupational Safety and Health) Act talks about recordkeeping and collecting data, but it never envisioned such a broad sweeping thing. I just don’t think the agency is equipped to handle all the data they would get from a technical standpoint.”

Proposal to Reconsider, Revise or Remove Certain Provisions

In addition to postponing the compliance effective date, OSHA “also intends to issue a separate proposal to reconsider, revise or remove other provisions of the prior final rule.” OSHA is referring to the rule’s public reporting and anti-retaliation provision, which employers have strongly objected to.

Much of the reason for delaying compliance and forestalling decisions about whether the other rule requirements will be “reconsidered, revised or removed” are in recognition of the fact that an assistant secretary of labor of occupational safety and health has not yet been nominated. That could change a lot of things.

But it doesn’t mean employers should be lax about these rules. “Employers need to make sure the logs are right,” Mr. Foulke told Business Insurance. “They should be making sure that all that data is in place and correct and available. Assuming that come Dec. 1 (OSHA) decides that they’re not going to change that, (employers) should be able to put that information quickly into the system.” Foulke also thinks that if OSHA was able to collect and mine all the data from OSHA 300A logs the information would be quite valuable for improving safety and health programs, investigating accidents and determining their root causes.

When it comes to workplace safety, ignorance is no defense.

OSHA safety and health regulations often apply to all businesses, regardless of size. If you’re not sure which regulations apply to your business, OSHA provides some resources. It has created a Web-based step-by-step guide to help small employers identify some of the regulations that might apply to them. You can find this OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start at

https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/ quickstarts/index.html.

OSHA also offers employers an on-site consultation service. Trained state government staff will visit your site and provide free advice. The service is completely separate from any enforcement programs that OSHA operates, and is entirely confidential. Sessions identify and uncover potential workplace hazards and are intended to help small business owners improve their workplace safety and health systems.

If that isn’t sufficient incentive, then this might be — you could qualify for a one-year exemption from routine OSHA inspections if you participate! Find out more at https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html. Your insurance broker can also help you with compliance and safety issues. For more information, please contact us.