The Department of Labor has revised an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring companies in high-hazard industries such as construction to report injury and illness data each year electronically.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2024, companies with 100 or more employees must electronically submit information from Forms 300 and 301, in addition to Form 300A, by March 2 each year. This includes the date, physical location, and severity of the injury or illness, details about the injured worker, and details about how the injury or illness occurred.
OSHA defines a recordable injury or illness as:
- Any work-related fatality.
- Any work-related injury or illness that results in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job.
- Any work-related injury or illness requiring medical treatment beyond first aid.
- Any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, and punctured eardrums.
- Work-related cases involving: needlesticks and sharps injuries; medical removal; hearing loss; and tuberculosis.
Fatalities and severe injuries, such as an amputation, loss of an eye or hospitalization of a worker, must be reported within 24 hours.
The move will undo the industry-supported provisions of the 2019 final rule promulgated under the Trump administration and reprise the 2016 Obama-era rule.
Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries will continue to be required to electronically submit information from their OSHA Form 300A annual summary to OSHA once a year. All organizations with 250 or more employees that are required to keep records under OSHA’s injury and illness regulation will also continue to be required to electronically submit information from their Form 300A to OSHA once a year.
OSHA intends to provide public access to some of the data collected on its website, removing personal identification information, saying the change will allow “employers, employees, potential employees, employee representatives, current and potential customers, researchers and the general public to use information about a company's workplace safety and health record to make informed decisions” and “ultimately reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.”
Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker told reporters, "Congress intended for the Occupational Safety and Health Act to include reporting procedures that would provide the agency and the public with an understanding of the safety and health problems workers face, and this rule is a big step in finally realizing that objective. OSHA will use these data to intervene through strategic outreach and enforcement to reduce worker injuries and illnesses in high-hazard industries. The safety and health community will benefit from the insights this information will provide at the industry level, while workers and employers will be able to make more informed decisions about their workplace's safety and health."
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck said the move does nothing to achieve OSHA’s stated goal of reducing injuries and illnesses and instead forces employers to disclose sensitive information that could be misconstrued.
“For open shop construction contractors, these are not hypothetical concerns,” Brubeck said. “Over the years, high-quality, safety-conscious contractors have been targeted by unions and union-front organizations making false or distorted claims of ‘unsafe’ contracting based on isolated incidents taken out of context. The records at issue in the final rule are not reliable measures of a company’s safety record or of its efforts to promote a safe work environment, as they provide no context about the injuries or illnesses reported.”
“Smaller companies will also be negatively impacted by expanding the mandate to establishments with 100 or more employees,” Brubeck added. “The recorded information can easily be backtracked to identify specific injuries and illnesses, and thereby the medical information of individuals in the workplace, violating their privacy.”