OSHA Electronic Recordkeeping (1904.41)
It’s here to stay.
Refresher – Who is affected?
Establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees that are classified in certain industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. These employers must electronically submit information from the three recordkeeping forms that you keep under this part:
- OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
- OSHA Form 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report
It is important to understand that if your industry is listed here and you had 20 employees or more for even one day of the year, this applies to you.
What happens if you don’t submit your OSHA logs electronically?
This is a new rule that has been added to OSHA’s portfolio of standards and regulations that are all individually subject to citation and civil penalty.
It’s in the same category of regulations for which OSHA routinely issues citations for failing to record workplace injuries on the log, for failing to accurately record injuries on a log and for failing to maintain the log for five years, as is required. I attended a meeting with the local OSHA director last week and during the discussion it became very clear that this standard will be strictly enforced and is not going away any time soon.
As a part of every OSHA inspection, it is now standard procedure for Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) to verify that organizations have submitted or attempted to submit their OSHA 300 electronically via the OSHA online Injury Tracking Application (ITA).
Employers have already received fines for not complying with this standard for their 2016 data which should have been submitted last year.
Even though recordkeeping violations are typically considered “other than serious” making the penalty small in nature, a second violation could be characterized as a Repeat or Willful violation. Repeat and willful recordkeeping violations are issued all the time, and they carry penalties that are now up to $126,000 per violation. If a CSHO finds out that this is not the first time that you’ve had a late submission, or a failure to submit, you could be in for some serious penalties.
What can you do?
OSHA allowed employers to upload their 2016 data until December 31, 2017 and the records are due by July 1, 2018. Herb Gibson, the Denver area OSHA Director explained “We will be sending out direction in the near future on how we are going to handle non-responders- it appears to be advantageous to upload sooner rather than later.”
If you attempted to submit your safety data and were unable to do so, make sure to have evidence of that on hand. Proving that you contacted support or were having some kind of technical issues can get the fine waved in many cases.
As the deadline for submission approaches OSHA promised to release more information on protocol regarding this rule. In the mean time, we recommend that you begin preparing to go electronic for your safety reporting.
[Editor’s Note]: In the context of this article CSHO stands for Compliance Safety and Health Officer, not Certified Safety and Health Official. This was incorrectly stated in a previous version of this article.
Take your whole safety program electronic