ACA Submits Comments to OSHA in Support of Electronic Reporting Deadline Extension
July 17, 2017 •
On July 13, ACA submitted comments to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in support of OSHA’s proposal to extend the deadline for certain employers to submit OSHA’s Form 300A electronically as required in the OSHA rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. ACA supports an extension of the proposed electronic reporting deadline at least to Dec. 1, 2017, but urged OSHA to extend the deadline further to July 1, 2018.
OSHA intended to develop an online system for data submission and communicate instructions to affected companies, prior to the first reporting deadline of July 1, 2017. On June 28, 2017, OSHA proposed to extend the July 1, 2017 deadline to Dec. 1, 2017. The agency justified the delay saying that it would give OSHA more time to initiate the online reporting system while allowing new leadership at OSHA an opportunity to evaluate and “reconsider, revise or remove” portions of the electronic reporting rule.
On May 12, 2016, OSHA published a final rule requiring electronic submission of information establishments currently maintain on OSHA accident reporting forms. The rule established three reporting deadlines for electronic submission:
- July 1, 2017: Affected establishments were to submit information from their 2016 Form 300A (annual summary of injury information) using an online system;
- July 1, 2018: Affected companies must submit 2017 forms 300A, 300 (injury and illness log) and 301 (incident reports), with certain high-risk industries required to submit 2017 Form 300A only; and
- March 2, 2019 and every year thereafter: Affected companies must submit forms 300A, 300 and 301 from the prior year, with certain high-risk industries required to submit Form 300A only (from the prior year).
With the electronic reporting tool becoming available Aug. 1, 2017 on the agency’s Injury Tracking Application webpage, establishments and enterprises will have four months to familiarize responsible staff with the tool and enter 2016 Form 300A data into the online system, to meet the Dec. 1, 2017 deadline. On Aug. 1, 2017, companies would begin to mobilize resources to comply with the proposed Dec.1, 2017 deadline. By further extending this compliance date, companies would have time to consider any additional changes to the rule before mobilizing resources to comply. In its comments, ACA recommended that OSHA harmonize the compliance date for 2016 Form 300A with submission of 2017 Form 300A, so both would be due on July 1, 2018.
In the alternative, ACA supports OSHA’s proposed extension to Dec. 1, 2017 for electronic submission of 2016 Form 300A.
Submissions at the Enterprise Level
ACA expressed concern that corporate headquarters submitting reports on behalf of establishments within its ownership would face difficulty in collecting and electronically submitting forms by the proposed Dec.1, 2017 deadline. OSHA defines an establishment as, “a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed…” (29 CFR 1904.46). Under the electronic reporting rule, each establishment is required to submit data electronically (29 CFR 1904.41).
ACA noted that some individual ACA members may operate over 100 establishments, with occupational safety and health management driven by a centralized corporate office. Corporate-level management also have an enhanced interest to review accident and illness data enterprise wide, since information will be publicly available. In such situations, the corporate office may coordinate with establishments to obtain and file information responsive to this rule.
To allow more time for submissions at the enterprise level — especially considering that the rule is subject to further changes — ACA recommended that OSHA harmonize the compliance date for submission of 2016 Form 300A with submission of 2017 Form 300A, so both would be due on July 1, 2018.
In the alternative, ACA supports OSHA’s proposed extension to Dec.1, 2017 for electronic submission of 2016 Form 300A.
Contact ACA’s Riaz Zaman for more information.