The Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to take action as it responds to a lack of compliance with its electronic injury report filing requirements. The federal health and safety watchdog, which initially introduced the updates to its recordkeeping requirements in May 2016, had delayed full implementation of the rule many times since.
A significant number of businesses missed the final, Dec. 30, 2017 requirement to electronically file 300A, 300 log and 301 injury report forms, as EHS Today pointed out. OSHA expected more than 350,000 submissions from businesses, but only received about 214,000 submissions of 300A forms. OSHA said at least a third of the companies required to share this injury and illness information had done so by the deadline.
"The deadline for submitting 2017 information is July 1."
The confusion and lack of action by some companies related to the electronic injury reporting rules isn't particularly surprising when the many developments and delays related to the regulation are taken into account. Businesses were essentially allowed to sit on injury and illness data from 2016 all the way through 2017, and a significant number of deadlines were dashed by extensions to the reporting period that quickly appeared.
However, this doesn't mean OSHA won't enforce its rules. As Business & Legal Resources reported, the federal watchdog has a period of more than three months where it can penalize businesses for a lack of compliance, which ends on June 15. The agency already issued a memorandum to regional-level directors on interim policies for taking action related to noncompliant businesses.
Only one of the three potential violations involves a penalty. If a business can provide a paper copy of its injury and illness records or if it demonstrates it has already submitted its records for 2017, OSHA will issue an other-than-serious citation but won't implement any penalty. The only way a company can face a fine is if it can't produce 2016 records and hasn't electronically submitted its 2017 information. The maximum financial penalty in such a case is slightly less than $13,000.
Whether or not businesses complied with the deadline for submitting 2016 information, all organizations should now focus on getting their injury forms to OSHA through its dedicated program website. With the July 1 deadline fast approaching, time is of the essence to avoid a repeat of the problems many companies faced with their 2016 data.