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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has placed new reporting requirements on employers in certain industries pursuant to its final ruling to revise the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation. The new regulations took effect August 1 of this year, however, employers have until November 1, 2016 to prepare for enforcement of the regulations.

The new regulations prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who report OSHA matters and require employers to include an anti-retaliation provision which “clarifies the current implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting.” Specifically, employees must be informed of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. Certain employers must electronically submit some of the injury and illness information already being collected to OSHA.

Employers are encourage to take the following steps:

  • Review the new regulations. OSHA has a helpful FAQ on its website which is a good resource.
  • Inform employees of their right to report. Post the OSHA “It’s The Law” worker rights poster from April 2015 or later.
  • Review existing reporting procedures and consider whether to update the policy. While many employers have a reporting procedure, the new regulations require that an employee be afforded a reasonable time to report work-related injuries or illnesses. If the current policy requires an employee to immediately report an injury or illness, the policy should be updated by November 1 by providing a reasonable time frame.
  • Review and revise drug testing policy. OSHA permits drug testing that promotes compliance with state and federal law. However, if the testing only occurs after an accident or claim, it is viewed as a form of retaliation and is prohibited. Drug-testing policies “should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.”  Keep in mind Minnesota has a very specific drug and alcohol testing policy that must be followed.

Employers reporting OSHA on paper Forms 300A, 300, and 301 must now do so electronically, effective January 1, 2017, as follows:

  • All employers with at least 250 employees (“Large Employers”); and
  • Employers with 20 to 249 employees that are in certain industries (“Designated Employers”) designated by OSHA as high risk.

The electronic reporting requirements are being phased in, as follows:

Large Employers

  • 2017 – File only 2016 Form 300A by July 1
  • 2018 – File all three types of 2017 Forms by July 1
  • 2019 and beyond – File all three types of Forms by March 2

Designated Employers

  • 2017 & 2018 – File Form 300A by July 1
  • 2019 and beyond – File Form 300A by March 2

 

THESE MATERIALS ARE INTENDED TO PROVIDE AN OVERVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT ISSUES IN THE WORKPLACE AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.  IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS REGARDING EMPLOYMENT LAW ISSUES, PLEASE CONTACT STACEY DEKALB AT THE LOMMEN ABDO EMPLOYMENT LAW DEPARTMENT AT 612.336.9310, 715.386.8217 OR 800.752.4297.