OSHA announces new workplace injury reporting requirements

OSHA requires online reporting, can Maryland deliver?

In an attempt to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illness, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a new rule which requires certain employers to electronically submit data. The agency has stated a portion of the information will be available to the public. OSHA claims the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness rule will encourage employers to focus on safety while also allowing the agency "to use its enforcement and compliance resources more efficiently." The agency has also stated the rule should not overly burden employers as they estimate it should take approximately ten minutes to complete the submission process.

More than just enforcement, the rule also helps fight retaliation

In addition to providing OSHA with data on accidents to assist in investigation and enforcement efforts, the rule is also intended to encourage workers to report workplace injuries without fear of retaliation.

The agency is using the rule as an opportunity to educate injured workers on their legal rights. The Occupational Safety and Health Act establishes that it is illegal for an employer to discharge or otherwise discriminate against a worker who reports a fatality or workplace injury. However, based on this law OSHA could not take action unless the employee files a complaint. The new final rule changes this. The new rule allows OSHA to cite an employer for a retaliation violation even if the worker failed to file a complaint.

Deadlines in effect, certain employers should report electronically

The rule went into effect on January 1, 2017. The agency has a website with three options for submission. Employers can manually enter the data, upload the report or have an automated system that will transmit the data using an application programming interface.

Reporting requirements began July 1, 2018. OSHA required employers with 250 or more employees as well as employers with 20 - 249 workers in "high-hazard" industries to submit their 300A work related injury and illness report online. The agency defines "high-hazard" to include employers in the agriculture, utilities, construction, manufacturing and retail industries as well as various transportation and health industries.

Employers with 20 or less employees are exempt from the electronic reporting requirement.

Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Agency, final rule not fully implemented

The State of Maryland's Occupational Safety and Health Agency (MOSH) has yet ot adopt OSHA's new electronic reporting requirements. As such, MOSH is not accepting the OSHA 300 information or the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). However, the state agency also clarifies the reporting requirement does not impact the annual injury and illness reporting requirements as set out by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Final rule still in progress, impact on Maryland workers' comp cases

The government will likely require online reporting for Maryland employers in the near future.

Although full implementation of the final rule is still in the works, the discussion serves as a reminder that injured workers have basic rights. Anyone that injured while on-the-job is wise to seek legal counsel to review these rights and better ensure all applicable legal remedies are protected.