OSHA’s e-reporting portal is ready, but should you wait?
By: Travis Rhoden
Publication: Workplace Safety Regulatory Alert
Date Posted: 08/21/2017
On August 1, 2017, OSHA’s injury and illness e-reporting portal went live, nearly one month later than covered employers were to have originally submitted their data for the first time. (Earlier, OSHA extended the deadline until December 1, 2017.)
So, now that the portal is ready and OSHA is taking submissions, should you go ahead and transmit your data?
There’s certainly a case to be made for waiting until closer to the December deadline. As we’ve previously reported in the Workplace Safety Advisor, there are many legal and regulatory uncertainties surrounding this rule. It is not out of the question that the requirement to submit e-records will change or be withdrawn. If a company submits their records early (i.e., before the December deadline), that data won’t be able to be “unsent” even if the rule goes away.
Of course, if you wait, there’s always the possibility of some sort of technical glitch or other unforeseen problem that could cause you to miss the deadline, should the rule stay in place.
It’s probably a safer bet to wait closer to the deadline, but not so close that you don’t have some wiggle room.
Regardless of when you choose to submit the data, you should most definitely be thinking about how you want to make the submittal. OSHA provides a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users are able to manually enter data into a web form. Second, users can upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). Note: For the non-tech-savvy safety professional, you made want to alert your IT department of the potential data submission.
Third party submissions
In launching the portal, OSHA also cleared up a few ambiguities with the reporting rule. First, OSHA says that a third party is allowed to maintain the injury and illness records for an employer and to submit the data for that employer. However, as with recordkeeping, responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of the data lies with the employer, not the third party.
OSHA also confirmed that a firm with more than one establishment may submit establishment-specific data for multiple establishments. To do this, the firm will create one registration and follow the directions provided to submit data for multiple establishments. It is important to note that the electronic reporting requirements are for data at the establishment level, not the firm level. The submitted data must be specific for each individual establishment.
Who must submit e-data?
Two groups of establishments are required to electronically submit data to OSHA: (1) Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain industries, and (2) Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries subject to OSHA’s recordkeeping requirement. Establishments that are partially exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping due to industry are not required to submit data, regardless of establishment size.
This article was featured in the Workplace Safety Regulatory Alert newsletter.
The Workplace Safety Regulatory Alert newsletter helps keep busy safety professionals current on the latest workplace safety and compliance news, consensus standards, best practices, OSHA regulatory changes and enforcement trends. Click here to sample this newsletter for free or view our full library of Workplace Safety compliance publications.