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Category Archives: Recordkeeping

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OSHA Amends Its Rule Requiring Employers to Keep and Maintain Records of Recordable Injuries and Illnesses for Five Years

On December 19, 2016, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a final rule amending its record keeping regulations, located at 29 C.F.R. Part 1904. The Amendment clarifies that a covered employer has an on-going obligation to create and maintain accurate records of recordable work-place injuries and illnesses. It did so in response to the decision in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor, 675 F.3d 752 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (“Act”) requires covered employers to create and preserve records of certain workplace injuries and illnesses that are prescribed by the … Continue Reading

OSHA’s New Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Creates a Number of New Pitfalls for Employers

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published significant amendments to its recordkeeping rule, requiring many employers to submit work-related injury and illness information to the agency electronically.  The amendments also include provisions designed to prevent employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses at work.  The information employers provide will be “scrubbed” of personally identifiable information and published on OSHA’s website in a searchable format.

The Basics

Every workplace with 250 or more employees will be required to electronically submit  OSHA 300 Logs, 301 Forms, and 300A summaries on an annual basis.  Workplaces with 20 or more employees in … Continue Reading

Lessons Learned from the First Year of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program

On January 1, 2015, OSHA rolled out its Severe Injury Reporting Program, requiring all employers to report to OSHA within 24 hours any work-related amputations, inpatient hospitalizations, or loss of an eye.  The long standing requirement to report work-related fatalities to OSHA within 8 hours also remains in place.

According to a report issued by OSHA on January 17, 2016 evaluating the impact of the new reporting requirements, before the requirements were established, compliance officers were often dispatched to inspect a fatality in the workplace, only to discover a history of serious injuries had taken place there in the past, … Continue Reading

OSHA Unveils Long Awaited Online Form For Reporting Work-Related Fatalities And Severe Injuries

After a year of OSHA’s promises that an online form for reporting work-related fatalities and severe workplace injuries was “coming soon,” the agency finally unveiled the form on its website on December 24, 2015.  The online form is one of three options that employers can use to fulfill updated fatality and severe injury reporting requirements, which went into effect on January 1, 2015 (see related story).  Employers also have the options of calling the OSHA office nearest to their worksite or calling the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) to make a report.

The updated reporting rule requires all employers … Continue Reading

OSHA Assures Employers That Rapid Response Investigation Reports Will Not Be Used in Issuing Citations

Since OSHA’s revised fatality and severe injury reporting rule went into effect on January 1, 2015 (see related story), employers have been deeply concerned that the agency would use information contained in Rapid Response Investigation Reports (RRIs) — required by OSHA in response to approximately 50% of the reports made this year — as the basis for issuing citations and fines.  This concern stems from the fact that when OSHA finds an employer’s RRI unsatisfactory, such as where the employer merely blames the victim or fails to provide what the agency determines is an adequate plan to address identified hazards, … Continue Reading

Employers Beware: OSHA Fines Are on the Rise for the First Time in Twenty-Five Years

OSHA has been unable to increase the civil penalties it can impose when an employer is cited for a violation since 1990.  But that is all about to change.  Hidden within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, is a provision requiring OSHA to significantly increase its civil penalties.  A one-time “Catch Up Adjustment” will be based on the percentage difference between the Consumer Price Index in October 2015 (to be released later this month) and October 1990 – resulting in a penalty increase of approximately 80%.  This means that the $7,000 cap … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Response to Compliance with the New Reporting Rules and What it Means to Employers

Although OSHA’s new reporting rule has been in effect for almost seven months now, it has caused some major changes in the way that OSHA operates.  Since the new reporting rule went into effect on January 1, 2015, OSHA has received more than 5,000 reports of work-related deaths, inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye.  As OSHA anticipated, compliance with the rule has focused the agency’s attention on industries and hazards that it had not focused on before.  For example, because of the unexpectedly high number of reports of amputations from supermarkets, OSHA issued a safety Fact Sheet last … Continue Reading

Five Steps Toward Boosting Employee Safety and Avoiding OSHA Citations

I recently authored Epstein Becker Green’s March issue of Take 5 in which I outline actionable steps that employers can take to improve safety and avoid costly OSHA citations.

Following is an excerpt:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees. OSHA establishes standards and provides training and compliance assistance. It also enforces its standards with investigations and citations.

Although it’s impossible for employers to mitigate against every conceivable hazard in the workplace, there are five critical steps that every employer should take to improve safety in the … Continue Reading

OSHA’s Revised Recordkeeping and Reporting Rules for Retail in 2015

Retailers, get ready for OSHA’s revised recordkeeping and reporting rules, effective January 1, 2015.

As I note in my Act Now Advisory—“What Do OSHA’s Revised Recordkeeping and Reporting Rules Really Mean for Retailers?”—several additional retail industries will be required to keep records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, and several are no longer subject to the rules. The new reporting requirements apply to all retailers, even those included in the exempt list.

See the advisory for more information – below is an excerpt of my tips for retail employers:

  • Train your safety and human resource professionals and your managers
Continue Reading

Complimentary Webinar Video: OSHA Forecast, 2015 and Beyond

See below for a recording of my recent webinar, “OSHA Forecast: Developments to Watch in 2015 and Beyond.”

As I discuss, in 2015, many more industries will for the first time be required by OSHA to record injuries and illnesses in the OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping log. The reporting of severe injuries or illnesses is also changing, and we anticipate a greater focus on enforcements and inspections.

Topics include:

  • Where we are now and the direction of OSHA in 2015
  • Recording and recordkeeping requirements
  • Whistleblowing and its impact on your business
  • Preparing for increased OSHA inspections of incidents
Continue Reading

OSHA Announces Its Regulatory Priorities for 2015

On November 21, 2014, the Department of Labor released its Agency Rule List, which provides the status of all rulemaking efforts at each of its agencies.  OSHA dominated the list of regulatory activity in the Department, listing 26 regulations in the prerule, proposed rule, and final rule stages. 

Of these 26 items, OSHA announced that its top regulatory priorities include:

  • Efforts to control exposure to crystalline silica
  • Enhancements to current infectious disease protocols in healthcare and other high risk environments
  • Issuance of a final rule modernizing its reporting system for occupational injuries and illnesses, requiring electronic submission of injury and
Continue Reading

OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Checklist — Article Series in the Grain Journal

The Grain Journal recently published a series of seven articles by the national OSHA Practice Group at Epstein Becker Green.  The articles outline a checklist for employers to follow in order to comply with OSHA’s complex Injury & Illness Recordkeeping regulations. The articles are broken down as follows:

  1. Scope of OSHA’s Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Rule;
  2. OSHA’s Recordkeeping Forms;
  3. Recording Injuries and Illnesses;
  4. Recording Workplace Injuries/Illnesses;
  5. Miscellaneous Recording Procedures;
  6. Updating and Verifying Records; and
  7. Recordkeeping Action Plan.

Here is an excerpt from the article series:

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations at 29 CFR 1904 and 1952 set

Continue Reading

OSHA-Related New Year’s Resolutions and Wishes for 2014

As the clock ticked down and the apple dropped to start a new year, many of us reflected on the year that had passed and our resolutions and New Year’s wishes for the upcoming year.  Probably not many of you were thinking about your resolutions and New Year’s wishes as they related to everybody’s favorite regulatory agency, OSHA, so let us do that for you.  Here are three New Year’s wishes about OSHA enforcement that the national OSHA Practice Group at Epstein Becker & Green hopes to see come true in 2014 for our clients and friends in Industry:

1.      Continue Reading

Reminder — February 1st is a Critical OSHA Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Deadline

February 1st is an important annual OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping deadline for all U.S. employers, except for those with only ten or fewer employees or who operate in enumerated low hazard industries such as retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate (see the industries partially exempted from OSHA’s Injury & Illness Recordkeeping regulations at Appendix A to Subpart B of Part 1904).  Specifically, by February 1st every year, employers are required

by OSHA’s Recordkeeping regulations to:

  1. Review their OSHA 300 Log;
  2. Verify that the entries are complete and accurate;
  3. Correct any deficiencies on the 300 Log;
  4. Use
Continue Reading

OSHA Extends Comment Period for Controversial Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule

Last month, we published an article about OSHA’s proposed new Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting rule that would create a minefield for hundreds of thousands of employers nationwide.  In a January 6, 2014 press release, OSHA announced that it would extend the comment period for this proposed rule by 30 days in response to a request from the National Association of Home Builders (“NAHB”).  NAHB made the request because the rulemaking overlaps with the proposed crystalline silica rulemaking and it needed more time to disseminate the relevant information to its members and coordinate responses.  March 8, 2014 is now … Continue Reading

OSHA Proposes Intrusive and Burdensome New Injury & Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Rule

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) put out a press release announcing a proposed new rule that would significantly increase employers’ injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting responsibilities.  OSHA first submitted its proposal to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) two years ago, on November 22, 2011, but OIRA did not approve the proposed rule to advance through the rulemaking process until last month.

In essence, the proposed rule would transform the current Recordkeeping framework in which employers’ records of workplace injuries remained private to the employer unless: (i) OSHA requests them during an inspection … Continue Reading

February 1st – An Important OSHA Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Deadline

By Amanda R. Strainis-Walker and Eric J. Conn

February 1st is an important annual OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping deadline for all U.S. employers, except for those with only ten or fewer employees or who operate in enumerated low hazard industries such as retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate (see the exempted industries at Appendix A to Subpart B of Part 1904).  Specifically, by February 1st every year, employers are required by OSHA’s Recordkeeping regulations to:

  1. Review their OSHA 300 Log;
  2. Verify that the entries are complete and accurate;
  3. Correct any deficiencies on the 300 Log;
  4. Use
Continue Reading

OSHA’s Overdue 2012 Regulatory Agenda Finally Released… a Few Days Before 2013

By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group

Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the federal government and its agencies, such as OSHA, are required to give notice of significant rulemaking and other regulatory activity by publishing “semi-annual” regulatory agendas that outline the status of on-going and intended federal regulations and standards.  Someone needs to tell the Administration that “semi-annual” means twice yearly, not every other year.

Historically, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) issues a Spring regulatory agenda sometime during the summer, and a Fall regulatory agenda sometime in the winter.  Before last week (the … Continue Reading

OSHA Forecast: Developments to Watch For In 2013

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you, and Happy 1st Anniversary to the OSHA Law Update blog.  On December 20th, we celebrated our first full year of updates and articles (56 of them) about important OSHA Law topics here on the OSHA Law Update blog.  We would hardly have the energy or enthusiasm to keep the OSHA Law Update current if it were not for all of the incredibly positive feedback, comments, and questions that we have received over the year from all of you.  Thank you for that.

Just as we did last year, … Continue Reading

OIG Recommends Changes to OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting Program

By Paul H. Burmeister

The Site-Specific Targeting Program (SST) is OSHA’s primary “programmed” inspection plan for non-construction workplaces.  The SST Program is geared to address OSHA’s goal of reducing the number of injuries and illnesses that occur at individual workplaces, by directing enforcement resources to those workplaces where the highest rate of injuries and illness have occurred.

The SST is driven by data received from the prior year’s OSHA Data Initiative Survey.  Using the data from this annual survey, and criteria that change every year, such as different industries, fluctuating thresholds of injury data (mostly average DART rates by industry), … Continue Reading

Unsurprising Results from OSHA’s Recordkeeping NEP

By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group

According to a recent report to Congress from OSHA, the Agency’s multi-year Injury & Illness Recordkeeping National Emphasis Program (“Recordkeeping NEP”) continued through its termination in 2012 to yield less alarming results than the OSHA leadership team forecasted, despite revising the program in late 2010.

The initial version of the Recordkeeping NEP was put on hold due to lower than expected (at least by OSHA) instances of recordkeeping abuses (i.e., employers deliberately under recording injuries and illnesses), so OSHA attempted to modify the targets of the Recordkeeping NEP to … Continue Reading

OSHA and GAO Question Safety Incentive Programs

By Alexis M. Downs and Eric J. Conn

Although OSHA currently has no regulations specifically addressing Safety Incentive Programs, they have recently come under fire by OSHA because the Agency believes that such programs have a chilling effect on workplace injury reporting.  Incentive programs have been a serious focus of OSHA’s Director, David Michaels, since he assumed his position early in the Obama Administration.

Dr. Michaels explained that OSHA “strongly disapprove[s] of programs offering workers parties and prizes for not reporting injuries, or bonuses for managers that drive down injury rates, or that discipline workers for reporting an injury.”

Much … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Limits OSHA’s Recordkeeping “Madness”

By Eric J. Conn and Casey M. Cosentino

The last month has been a rough stretch for OSHA in terms of Injury and Illness Recordkeeping enforcement.  As we reported last month on the OSHA Law Update Blog, in March, the Seventh Circuit beat back OSHA’s attempt to expand the meaning of “work related” for purposes of determining whether an injury or illnesses is recordable.  Then last month, the District of Columbia Circuit further and dramatically limited OSHA’s authority to cite Recordkeeping violations, by insisting that the injury that is the subject of the recordable case actually have occurred within 6-months … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit “Puzzled” by OSHA’s “Work-Related” Recordkeeping Requirement

By Casey M. Cosentino and Eric J. Conn

On March 20, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated an ALJ’s decision penalizing Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. for allegedly failing to record an employee’s “work-related” musculoskeletal disorder (“MSD”) on the Company’s OSHA 300 log.  Caterpillar Logistics Services, Inc. v. Sec’y of Labor, No. 11-2958 (7th Cir., Mar. 20, 2012).  This case is significant because it stamps back (at least temporarily) an effort by OSHA to expand the meaning of “work-related” in the context of ergonomic injuries and OSHA Injury & Illness Recordkeeping.

By way of background, … Continue Reading