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March 4, 2019

Michael Flippo | Adobe Stock

OSHA issues final rule for injury reports

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that to protect worker privacy, it has issued a final rule that eliminates the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year. These establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).

By preventing routine government collection of information that may be sensitive, including descriptions of workers’ injuries and body parts affected, OSHA says it is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). OSHA says this rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be attributed to a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301. The final rule does not alter an employer’s duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain these forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.

In addition, OSHA says this rule will allow it to focus its resources on initiatives that have been shown to be useful—including using information from severe injury reports that helps target areas of concern and seeking to fully utilize a large volume of data from Form 300A—rather than on collecting and processing information from Forms 300 and 301 with uncertain value for OSHA enforcement and compliance assistance.

The agency is also amending the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to electronically submit their employer identification number (EIN) with their information from Form 300A. OSHA says the final rule’s requirement for employers to submit their EIN electronically, along with their information from OSHA Form 300A, will make the data more useful for OSHA and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and could reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.

OSHA determined that this final rule will allow it to improve enforcement targeting and compliance assistance, protect worker privacy and safety and decrease the burden on employers.

Collection of calendar year 2018 information from the OSHA Form 300A began on Jan. 2, and the deadline for electronic submissions was March 2.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.