In a not-so-surprising initiative, the Trump administration along with OSHA has made the decision to roll back part of their Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule. With this change, employers no longer need to electronically submit the 300 or 301 forms but must still comply with submission of Form 300A.
This blog will overview the changes made by the Trump administration and OSHA regarding the changes to the previously mandated electronic submission to OSHA for review.
It’s most important for you and your clients to understand that the electronic submission requirements were not completely eliminated (as some mistakenly believe), but rather that the rule was scaled back in a way that industry experts expected from the start.
Employers must still electronically submit 300A data to OSHA.
- 2017 data is due by Dec. 31, 2018 if not already submitted
- 2018 data is due by March 2, 2019
In its initial requirements, OSHA mandated that required employers electronically submit all work-related injury or illness data directly to OSHA for its review. You likely remember this rule first went into effect July 1, 2018, and for years moving forward the deadline was set for March 2. To comply with the OSHA electronic recordkeeping rule, employers were required to submit their records electronically via CSV or manually. Failure to do so came with the potential for substantial fines or OSHA audit.
The changes for electronic submission
As of July 30, the Trump administration alongside OSHA announced two major changes to its Improve Tracking of Workplace injuries and Illnesses final rule. These two changes to the electronic submission rule no longer require submission of Forms 300 or 301 injury and illness data. The changes have been made due to concerns over protection of sensitive worker information.
The revocation of these rules has resulted in a lawsuit contending that OSHA did not follow proper notice-and-comment protocol since its formal declaration of reversal came after the deadline to submit these forms on July 1. Many worker advocacy organizations find this change to be negligent. These organizations originally hoped to use OSHA’s data to examine occupational health and safety, analyze the most serious workplace threats, and push for stronger regulatory protections.
Required 300A submissions
While there is no longer a need to electronically submit Forms 300 or 301, the requirement to electronically submit 300A data has not changed. With the changes for Forms 300 and 301, there has been a wide misunderstanding that the entire electronic recordkeeping rule has gone, which is not true.
The electronic recordkeeping rule is still intact for Form 300A, which requires establishments with 250+ employees or those with 20-249 employees in certain high-hazard industries to submit this data electronically. Employers who have not yet submitted their 2017 300A data must do so by Dec. 31, 2018 to avoid penalties and potential audits. In 2018 and beyond, 300A data is due electronically to OSHA by March 2.