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eLABORate: OSHA Proposes Delay of July 1, 2017 Deadline for Employer Compliance with Electronic Reporting of Worker Illness and Injury Records

May 26, 2017

As previously discussed in a 2016 eLABORate, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) finalized a rule requiring certain employers to submit annual illness and injury summaries electronically.

The rule also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for reporting such illnesses and injuries, and gives OSHA increased authority to pursue retaliation claims against employers. The rule was part of OSHA’s commitment to improve the tracking of workplace illnesses and injuries, and was promulgated during the Obama administration. Electronic versions of certain forms, including the Form 300A summaries for 2016, were scheduled to be due on July 1, 2017.

OSHA, however, has announced that it plans to propose extending the July 1, 2017 deadline for an indefinite amount of time. This extension is consistent with the Trump administration's intent to roll back various Obama-era regulations, including revisions to the FLSA’s overtime exemptions.

OSHA stated that it will announce the new deadline at a later date, and the OSHA website currently advises:

OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.

As of now, it remains unclear how this delay will impact the new OSHA requirements and whether OSHA will make any further, and perhaps substantive, changes to the rule, including the controversial anti-retaliation provisions.

If implemented in its current form, the new rule requires larger employers with at least 250 employees “at any time during the previous calendar year” (or employers with between 20 and 249 employees working in certain high-risk industries) to submit their OSHA 300 Logs, 301 Incident Reports, and 300A Annual Summaries to OSHA through an online portal that would allow, with very limited exceptions, for public access to that information.

Similar to many other Obama-era regulations, the new OSHA reporting rule is in limbo, and it remains unclear when the rule will go into effect and what vestiges of the old rule will remain. The rule currently is being challenged in federal court in Oklahoma, National Association of Home Builders of the United States v. Perez, No. 5:17-CV-00009 (W.D. Okla.), and we expect some clarity once the Trump administration names its Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.