New OSHA Regulation on Improved Tracking Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Goes Into Effect January 1, 2017

By James J. Carrabba

The New York Center for Agricultural Medicine & Health-NYCAMH

Earlier this year, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) announced a new rule, which takes effect January 1, 2017. This new regulation will require certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their OSHA Injury and Illness, paper-based forms. OSHA claims that, having this data will enable it to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure of workplace injury and illness data will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. More information about this new regulation can be found on OSHA's website at: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/index.html

These new reporting requirements will be phased in over the next two years:

Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries (includes agriculture) must electronically submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

Submission Year

Establishments with 250 or more employees

Establishments with
20-249 employees

Submission deadline

2017

Form 300A

Form 300A

July 1, 2017

2018

Forms 300A, 300, 301

Form 300A

July 1, 2018

Submission Dates for 2017-2018

These new electronic submission requirements do not change the existing requirement that an employer must complete and retain injury and illness records. The new rule also includes anti-retaliation protections by prohibiting employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. Employers will be required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. The new rule further clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer's procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting. It also incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions in the new ruling became effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA has delayed enforcement of these provisions until November 1, 2016 in order to provide outreach to employers.

As always, NYCAMH is available to assist farms with OSHA compliance consulting, safety programming and planning. We are a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of injury and illness that may occur to agricultural workers. We fulfill this mission by offering the on-farm safety program, which consists of farm safety surveys and farm safety training sessions for farms in New York. Our on-farm safety surveys identify potential farm hazards around the farm. Our training programs are farm specific and can be provided in Spanish. All of these services are available at no cost through a grant from the New York State Department of Labor Hazard Abatement Board. We also have a farm emergency response program offering training in CPR, first aid, fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Contact us at 800-343-7527 or info@nycamh.com to schedule these programs or for more information about our services. NYCAMH, a program of Bassett Healthcare Network is enhancing agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.