OSHA Rescinds Requirements of Electronic Recordkeeping Regulation
OSHA has rescinded the requirement for employers with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301 to the agency each year. Form 300 is the log of work-related injuries and illnesses, and Form 301 is the injury and illness incident report. According to OSHA’s press release, these employers will still be required to submit information from their OSHA Forms 300A, which summarize work-related illnesses and injuries. The agency states that these amendments to its recordkeeping requirements will help OSHA avoid the risk that sensitive information—such as descriptions of workers’ injuries and body parts affected—might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. “This rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301,” OSHA’s press release reads.  The new final rule also amends the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to submit their Employer Identification Numbers electronically along with their injury and illness data submissions—a change OSHA says is intended to “reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.” OSHA stressed that the new final rule does not revoke an employer’s duty to maintain Forms 300 and 301 for OSHA inspection.
The final rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 25. That day, three groups filed a complaint against OSHA in district court. The Public Citizen Health Research Group, the American Public Health Association, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists call for the rule to “be declared unlawful and set aside because OSHA has failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its change in position, failed to adequately consider comments submitted in opposition to the change, and relied on considerations that have no sound basis in law.” Last September, as part of the public commenting process, AIHA expressed opposition to the rule and recommended that OSHA suspend further action on the rulemaking until a study is conducted on the benefits of information collected from these forms. AIHA encouraged OSHA to identify other means of protecting workers’ personally identifiable information.  The requirement for electronic submission of Forms 300 and 301 was first announced in 2016 and took effect Jan. 1, 2017. Then-Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels stated that access to data on the forms would allow the agency to use its resources more efficiently. According to Michaels, the rule would help OSHA identify workplaces where workers are at greatest risk. For example, the data might prompt the agency to refer high-rate small- and medium-sized employers to OSHA’s free on-site consultation program, or to send hazard-specific outreach information to employers.  The final rule rescinding this requirement went into effect on Feb. 25, 2019. To read the full text of the rule, visit the Federal Register website. More information about OSHA’s 2017 rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses is available on the agency’s website and in its press release. AIHA’s comments on the proposed rule rescinding the electronic recordkeeping requirement are accessible on the association's website (PDF). The complaint filed against OSHA in district court is also available as a PDF.

OSHA stressed that the new final rule does not revoke an employer’s duty to maintain Forms 300 and 301 for OSHA inspection.