May 23, 2017

OSHA Postpones Electronic Recordkeeping Rule

A rule scheduled to take effect July 1 requiring employers to electronically submit workplace injury and illnesses information to the government has been delayed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA had originally issued the rule requiring most employers to post such information in May 2016.  However, OSHA has announced that the filing deadline will be postponed indefinitely.

OSHA has not published an official notice in the Federal Register or otherwise regarding extending the July 1st deadline. Rather, the OSHA recordkeeping website states the following:

“OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017, date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.”

The rule would have required employers to electronically submit injury and illness information so that it could be publicly posted on OSHA’s website. Furthermore, the rule would have strengthened the agency’s anti-retaliation positions with respect to injury reporting, which were interpreted to limit employers’ abilities to engage in common activities such as mandatory post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs.

The delay does not come as a surprise, as many observers had expected the Trump administration to delay implementation or Congress to deny funding to the program. It is not known what DOL will do with the rule going forward. The language on the OSHA website suggests OSHA will take further action to formalize the extension.

It is not clear whether any formal extension of the electronic reporting requirements will have any impact on the anti-retaliation regulations, found in the same rule. Two lawsuits are now pending in federal court challenging the rule, and some unions and advocacy groups have petitioned the court to defend the rule. Look for updates on the rule in future editions of Spotlight.

For questions, contact Jason Resnick at (949) 885-2253.