OSHA Updates: Learn the Latest on Anti-Retaliation Provisions, Recordkeeping Rules, Amputation Risks and More

In case you missed them, here are some recent news and updates from OSHA worth noting:

Anti-Retaliation Provisions of Injury, Illness Tracking Rule Took Effect Dec. 1

New provisions that would prohibit employers from retaliating or discriminating against employees for reporting workplace injuries or illnesses took effect on Thursday, Dec. 1 after a federal judge in Texas refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the measures. The provisions would also restrict using incentives for workplace safety and drug-testing programs. This doesn’t mean that the provisions couldn’t be struck down at a later date, just that those bringing the suit hadn’t proven their claims of suffering “irreparable harm” should the provisions be enacted.

These provisions are part of a larger recordkeeping and reporting standard that OSHA issued earlier this year. The rules related to electronic reporting go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The most significant change related to this new standard is that certain employers will be required to electronically submit their injury and illness data, which OSHA will make available publicly. Two things to note related to the new electronic reporting rules:

  • OSHA has recently clarified that electronic reporting requirements are based on the size of the establishment or physical location, not the firm. A firm may have more than one establishment. Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness information from OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain industries must electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A only.
  • OSHA will provide three options for data submission:
  1. Manually enter data into a web form.
  2. Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.
  3. Users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface (API).

The site is scheduled to go live in February 2017. For more on this topic, you can review our Risk Connection that was developed on this topic that details the reporting requirements and related provisions.

OSHA Seeks to Reduce Amputations Suffered by Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas Workers

More than 2,600 amputations were reported nationwide in 2015 with 57% of them suffered by manufacturing workers. To help reduce this number, OSHA recently announced they are turning their attention toward amputation hazards in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. OSHA says that amputations typically occur from workers operating machines improperly or without adequate safety guards.  OSHA plans to increase the number of planned inspections in these states immediately. Read the full news release here.

Best Practices for Safety and Health Programs Updated

In October, OSHA released an update to their Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. Originally published in 1989, these guidelines help employers establish ways to improve safety and health in their workplaces. Key principles include making sure leadership supports safety and health programs, engaging workers in finding solutions and developing processes to find and fix hazards. The new version features an easier-to-use format and should be of greater value to small- and medium-size businesses. The website features case studies, additional resources and downloadable materials. Visit the landing page here.

As always, please contact your loss control representative with questions or call us at 1-800-258-2667.

Note: Public sector employers in Wisconsin are not required to adhere to the new recordkeeping standard. The current Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) chapter SPS 4332 incorporates the 2010 OSHA standards.