The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an extension of the comment period on the Improved Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses proposed rule to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal was published on Nov. 8, 2013, with a comment period that originally closed on March 8, 2014, and would change the record keeping regulation to require employers to electronically submit OSHA 300 Log information directly to the agency on an annual basis with the level of detail reported based on company size.
In the Federal Register Notice OSHA indicates the extension is in response to concerns raised during the public meetings held on January 9 and 10, 2014, that the proposal could potentially result in employers adopting policies and procedures to discourage injury and illness reporting.
OSHA is proposing the following amendments (with examples from OSHA included) to the record keeping regulation:
1) Requiring employers to inform their employees that the employees have a right to report injuries and illnesses
2) Requiring the injury and illness reporting procedures established by the employer under 29 CFR 1904.35(a)(1) and (b)(1) to be reasonable and unduly burdensome. Examples of activities that would be prohibited include:
- Requiring employees to report in-person at a location distant from the employee’s workplace; and
- Penalizing employees for failing to report an injury within a specified time period (e.g. within 24 hours of an incident) even if the employee did not realize that they were injured or made ill until after that time.
3) Prohibiting employers from disciplining employees for reporting injuries and illnesses. Examples of activities that would be prohibited include:
- Requiring employees who reported injuries to wear fluorescent orange vests;
- Requiring an employee who reported an injury to undergo drug testing where there is no reason to suspect drug use;
- Enrolling employees who report an injury in an “Accident Repeater Program” that included mandatory counseling on workplace safety and progressively more serious sanctions for additional reports ending in termination;
- Employers disciplining employees for violating a safety rule, if the employee claims they were terminated for reporting and injury or illness; Terminating employees who are injured because they failed to abide by the employers safety rules;
- Employers selectively enforcing vague safety rules such as maintain “situational awareness” and “work carefully” only against employees who reported injuries and illnesses; and
Disciplining employees who report injuries or illnesses, or terminating employees who have more than a set number of injuries.
AGCA encourages chapters and members to submit comments on the rule making to express their concerns with the proposed changes to the record keeping regulation. To submit comments access regulations.gov