Have you electronically filed your 2017 OSHA Form 300A yet? Because for employers subject to OSHA regulations, July 1, 2018 is the final deadline. And for some companies, this comes as an eleventh-hour surprise—the latest twist in an evolving story of shifting OSHA regs, deadlines and increasing fines.
What a Long Strange, Trip It’s Been
On January 1, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulations went into effect, placing new electronic reporting requirements on OSHA-covered employers.
Initiated by the Obama Administration, the original intent was to require covered employers to submit all current OSHA reports electronically, including:
- OSHA Form 300 – Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, which employers are required to complete annually and maintain onsite at every worksite.
- OSHA Form 300A - Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, which employers are required to not only complete annually but post at each worksite from February 1-April 30 to increase safety awareness.
- OSHA Form 301 - Injury and Illness Incident Report, which employers are required to complete within seven calendar days of learning of an incident.
However, over the last 18 months, the government has made a number of changes to OSHA requirements, prompted largely by the change in presidential administrations. Most were made in order to lighten employers’ regulatory burden. Case in point: for now, only Form 300A must be filed electronically, not the other OSHA reports.
However, the once very recent change took employers in some states by surprise. While OSHA-covered employers under most State Plans were always subject to electronic reporting requirements, those operating under State Plans that hadn’t yet adopted the federal OSHA recordkeeping rule changes were not—i.e., California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
However, on April 30, 2018, OSHA published a corrective Trade Release announcing that all employers covered by State Plans—whether they’ve completed adoption of new OSHA recordkeeping rules or not—are subject to the electronic submission rule as of July 1, 2018.
While two states—Washington and Wyoming—have disputed the mandate, and an OSHA official appeared to acknowledge that the agency lacks enforcement authority in these states, it’s not clear how this will shake out. In the meantime, many employers are choosing to play it safe and meet existing OSHA requirements—including the following key OSHA guidelines.
Mark Your Calendar: OSHA Report Deadlines
All companies subject to OSHA regulations, whether through federal OSHA or a State Plan, are subject to the July 1, 2018 Form 300A electronic submission deadline. If you haven’t done so already, you can do so via OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application portal.
OSHA estimates that once employers create an account, it takes about 20 minutes to submit their Form 300A information for 2017.
But take note: the electronic submissions deadline changes next year. Employers must submit the 2018 OSHA Form 300A by March 2, 2019—the same date that will apply going forward. In addition, covered employers are required to maintain their annual OSHA records as before.
Heads-up: OSHA Penalties Increased This Year
Effective January 2, 2018, federal OSHA penalties increased. The current federal OSHA penalties are:
Type of Violation
$12,934 per violation
Failure to Abate
$12,934 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated
$129,336 per violation
Keep in mind: under OSHA regulations, failure to file electronic reports can result in an “Other-Than-Serious” OSHA citation, which can result in a penalty of nearly $13,000. That’s as high as a “Serious” worksite violation—and an excellent incentive for meeting OSHA recordkeeping requirements.
Do You Know What Triggers OSHA Inspections?
In 2017, nearly 76,000 OSHA inspections were conducted by federal and State Plan inspectors, according to the Department of Labor. Per OSHA guidelines, inspections are prioritized in the following order:
- Imminent danger – reported hazards that can cause death or serious physical harm receive top priority.
- Severe injuries and illnesses – when employers report work-related fatalities/severe injuries as required, this often results in onsite OSHA inspections.
- Formal worker complaints of hazards or violations.
- Referrals from other government agencies, individuals and organizations.
- Targeted inspections - aimed at high-hazard industries and workplaces with high rates of past violations.
- Follow-up inspections - conducted to confirm that previously-cited violations were corrected
Making OSHA Recordkeeping Easier
Does your current HR system help you meet OSHA recordkeeping requirements? EPAY System’s integrated software does. We make it easy to log ongoing OSHA entrees into the system and will generate OSHA Forms 300 and 300A.
This is just one of the many ways we help employers streamline HR administration and maintain labor compliance, while shaving labor costs and optimizing the workforce. For more information, read more about our HR management solutions or take a quick two-minute tour.