OSHA Update: Final Rule on Reporting Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Last week, OSHA issued a final rule on reporting workplace injury and illness; here is what you need to know about the latest requirements to take effect this summer.


Keeping up with the changing and evolving rules and regulations of OSHA can sometimes feel like a full-time endeavor.  For this reason, we offer periodic “OSHA updates” to highlight some of the regulations that pertain to you, the construction professional.

Just a few years ago, OSHA updated the rules on employers’ requirements and responsibilities for tracking and reporting workplace injuries and illnesses electronically.  Last week, on May 11th, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the final rule regarding this effort to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.  Although employers are already required to collect data on injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace, the new rule requires that employers must submit the data to OSHA; this is no longer a voluntary step in the process.  The intention is not only to ensure that the appropriate information is collected when an injury or illness takes place, but the new rule also exists so that OSHA can use the data to improve workplace safety and injury prevention through the use of behavioral economics.

According to the latest press release from OSHA, more than three million workers suffer from workplace injuries on an annual basis, yet limited to no information is currently available to OSHA or the public about injuries and illnesses that occur at an individual employer’s place of work.  With the new rule, high-hazard industries “will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency’s website.” (source: OSHA press release). This will keep the public (investors, clients, job-seekers) and OSHA informed of safety conditions at a particular workplace, as well as encourage employers to maintain and/or improve current workplace safety conditions and programs.

So, you may be asking: “Does this new rule apply to my business?”  The answer is simple:  If you are a business with 20 or more employees, then keep reading… Under the new rule, if you have 250 or more employees, you will be required to electronically submit injury and illness information to OSHA through Forms 300, 300A and 301.  If you are a company with 20-249 employees, then you are required to electronically submit OSHA Form 300A only.

The new requirement will take effect August 10, 2016 with phased in data submission beginning in 2017 (source: OSHA.gov).  The new rule does not change an employer’s current obligation to complete and retain illness records under the Recording and Reporting Regulation (Standard 1904.0). To gain access to more information on the final rule, visit the Federal Register.  To review instructions and referenced forms for recording work-related injuries and illnesses, click here.

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