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OSHA Issues Guidance on How to Cite Employers That Failed to Electronically Submit Injury and Illness Information

On February 21, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new interim enforcement procedures, provided below, regarding failure to submit electronic injury and illness records.

In 2016, OSHA adopted a new rule (effective January 1, 2017) to require certain employers to electronically submit  injury and illness information —including that found on the OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses—directly to OSHA over the next several years. Under the rule, employers were required to submit their OSHA 300A forms for 2016 to OSHA by December 15, 2017, although OSHA accepted submissions until December 31, 2017. 

Under the February 21 interim guidance, OSHA states that employers “that were required to submit records and failed to do so may be subject to citation.” Specifically, OSHA states that under most circumstances that the citations would be classified as Other than Serious with $0 penalty. 

Additionally, OSHA provides a couple of ways to avoid these citations or penalties in the interim guidance. First, employers who attempted to comply with the electronic submission requirements but were not able to do so for technical reasons may be able to avoid a citation if they can show this through documented communications with OSHA.  Second, if an employer did not submit the records electronically but provides a paper copy during the inspection, OSHA will cite the employer for an Other than Serious citation but will not assess a penalty.  Similarly, if an employer did not submit the 2016 records but shows that it has already submitted its 2017 records, OSHA will cite the employer for an Other than Serious citation but will not assess a penalty.

This is the first known guidance OSHA has issued regarding enforcement of this new rule. We will keep you updated as this matter progresses.  

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