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Reminder: OSHA 300A Logs Must Be Posted By Feb 1st

January 03 - Posted at 9:00 AM Tagged: ,
All OSHA 300A logs must be posted by February 1st in a visible location for employees to read. The logs need to remain posted through April 30th.

Please note the 300 logs must be completed for your records only as well. Be sure to not post the 300 log as it contains employee details.
The 300A log is a summary of all workplace injuries and does not contain employee specific details. The 300A log is the only log that should be posted for employee viewing.

Please contact our office if you need a copy of either the OSHA 300 or 300A logs.

Reminder: OSHA 300A Logs Must Be Posted By Feb 1st

January 04 - Posted at 3:00 PM Tagged: , , ,

All OSHA 300A logs must be posted by February 1st in a visible location for employees to read. The logs need to remain posted through April 30th.

Please note the 300 logs must be completed for your records only as well. Be sure to not post the 300 log as it contains employee details. The 300A log is a summary of all workplace injuries and does not contain employee specific details. The 300A log is the only log that should be posted for employee viewing.

Please contact our office if you need a copy of either the OSHA 300 or 300A logs.

OSHA Only Requiring Electronic Submission of 300A Forms

May 10 - Posted at 1:49 PM Tagged: ,

In the last Regulatory Agenda, OSHA indicated that it was undergoing rulemaking to revise the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation promulgated under the Obama administration. Specifically, OSHA noted it was considering deleting the requirement for employers with 250 or more employees at an establishment to electronically submit its 300 Log, 301 Forms along with the 300A Form.  What was not clear at the time was what OSHA was going to require for submission in July since the agency has not yet issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking revising the standard.

Recently, OSHA made clear that it will not collect or require employers with 250 or more employees per establishment to submit the 300 Log or the 301 Forms.  OSHA will require all employers covered by the regulation to only submit the 2017 300A Form by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the 300A Forms must be submitted by March 2.

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees are only required to provide their 2017 Form 300A summary data. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time. OSHA announced that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” final rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data. The Agency is currently drafting that NPRM and will seek comment on those provisions.

Also, last week we blogged about OSHA’s reversal in position regarding the electronic filing of 300A Forms by employers in state plans that have not adopted the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses requirements.  OSHA is now requiring those employers to submit their 300A Forms using the Injury Tracking Application on OSHA’s website by July 1, 2018.  However, an agency official recently clarified that since OSHA does not have jurisdiction in those states with state plans, it is prohibited from enforcing the regulation and can not issue citations to employers for failing to electronically submit the 2017 300A, and since those certain state plans have yet to adopt the regulation they are equally prohibited from enforcing the requirement and can not issue citations to employers. So while OSHA is requiring employers in state plans that have not yet adopted the regulation to submit their 2017 300A it has acknowledged that it has no enforcement authority for those employers who fail to do so.

Article courtesy of Jackson Lewis

Should Employers Allow Concealed Weapon Permit Holders To Carry Guns At Work?

March 01 - Posted at 3:34 PM Tagged: , , , , ,

As mass shootings have continued with regular frequency in the United States, our country remains deeply divided, not only with the cause of these tragic events, but also on how to stop them from occurring. Many have called for increased gun control, including a ban on assault-style rifles like the AR-15 and universal background check requirements for all firearms transactions. Others have called for fewer restrictions on law-abiding gun owners’ ability to carry concealed firearms at their places of work and on public property, arguing that additional guns on the scene often prevent unnecessary harm. 

Employers are caught in the middle of this debate, as they often must resolve the issue of whether employees with concealed carry permits should be allowed to carry their firearms at work. Would doing so make workplaces safer or more dangerous? Are there potential legal liability issues to consider? In making this decision, you need to assess a constellation of legal and policy factors. 
(more…)

Reminder: OSHA 300A Logs Must Be Posted By Feb 1st

January 10 - Posted at 9:00 AM Tagged: , , ,

All OSHA 300A logs must be posted by February 1st in a visible location for employees to read. The logs need to remain posted through April 30th.

Please note the 300 logs must be completed for your records only as well. Be sure to not post the 300 log as it contains employee details. The 300A log is a summary of all workplace injuries and does not contain employee specific details. The 300A log is the only log that should be posted for employee viewing.

Please contact our office if you need a copy of either the OSHA 300 or 300A logs.

OSHA Electronic Record-Keeping Submission Due Dec 1st

October 02 - Posted at 9:00 AM Tagged: , , , , , ,
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has implemented a change to its record keeping rule that now requires certain employers to electronically submit 2016 injury and illness data to the agency as of December 1, 2017. 

The injury and illness reports that employers are required to submit electronically are already recorded on forms that employers keep onsite at their workplace. OSHA feels this change will help to improve the safety for workers across the country by making injury information publicly available. 

Who Must Comply: Employers who are required to comply are establishments with 250 or more employees as well as those with 20-249 employees who fall into certain industries that have historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. 

What Are Employers Required to Submit:
  • Employers with 250 or more employees must electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work Related Injuries & Illnesses), 300A (Summary or Work Related Injuries & Illnesses), and 301 (Injury & Illness Incident Report).
  • Employers with 20-249 employees in the required industries must electronically submit the Form 300A.

OSHA has provided a secure website that offers 3 options for data submission:
  1. Users can manually enter data into their webform
  2. Users can upload a CVS file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time
  3. Users of automated recordkeeping systems can transmit data electronically via API (application programming interface)

The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from their launch page where employers are able to provide OSHA with their 2016 Form 300A information. 

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over 2 years. OSHA extended the 2017 compliance date for 2016 data submission to December 1, 2017.  The data  deadline for 2017 information submission is July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2nd.

OSHA Electronic Reporting Requirements Required by July 1, 2017

May 12 - Posted at 2:00 PM Tagged: , , , , , ,

Why is OSHA issuing this rule?


This simple change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.


What does the rule require?


The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry. The electronic submission requirements do not change an employer’s obligation to complete and retain the injury & illness records.


How will electronic submission work?


OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users will be able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users will be able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). OSHA is not yet accepting electronic submissions at this time. Updates will be posted to the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping when they are available.


Anti-retaliation protections


The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, which can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. It also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA has delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.


Compliance schedule


The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:


  • Establishments with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the recordkeeping regulation must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.


  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.


OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements in this final rule within 6 months after publication of this final rule.

Reminder: OSHA 300A Logs Must Be Posted by Feb 1st

January 20 - Posted at 3:00 PM Tagged: , , ,

All OSHA 300A logs must be posted by February 1st in a visible location for employees to read. The logs need to remain posted through April 30th.


Please note the 300 logs must be completed for your records only as well. Be sure to not post the 300 log as it contains employee details. The 300A log is a summary of all workplace injuries and does not contain employee specific details. The 300A log is the only log that should be posted for employee viewing.


Please contact our office if you need a copy of either the OSHA 300 or 300A logs.

Do You Really Know How To Manage An OSHA Inspection?

March 18 - Posted at 2:00 PM Tagged: , , , , ,

Many articles on handling OSHA inspections provide the same basic guidelines and little explanation of why employers should take certain steps. You may already know to take photos whenever the Compliance Officer (CO) takes shots and to take notes. But do you know why to take those photos and what to look for? What do you need to note in order to challenge citations when they are issued six months later?


Plan In Advance
Every company site should have a number of managers who know the basic steps to take whenever any government investigator shows up. The most important step is for site managers to know whom to call to obtain guidance. No executive or in-house counsel will be pleased to learn of an investigation upon receipt of a citation.


At most, site management can deal with evacuating and protecting employees, and dealing with first responders. The company needs a system in place so that with one call the site manager activates corporate support, including legal and risk management guidance, assistance to employees and families, and media management. Set up this system and practice response. Do not assume that you will never face a fatality or catastrophe. Tornadoes, vehicular accidents, and workplace violence can strike any employer.

Make sure that management takes an OSHA inspection seriously. Many employers are unprepared for the aggressive approach now dictated by the current administration. OSHA is a great organization, but even seemingly minor-sounding citations can harm the business. In some industries, a single citation classified as “serious” can harm bidding opportunities. Most of the recent six figure citations have involved repeat violations of routine items such as a missing electric cabinet switch label, a damaged extension cord, partially blocked electric cabinet, or one employee who missed his annual training.


Each violation can serve as the basis for a repeat violation of up to $70,000 per item at ANY company location in any Fed-OSHA state for five years. No inspection is minor. And by the way, OSHA’s improved IT system will allow the agency to better track your corporation’s performance, even when the company operates under many names.


Manage The Inspection
Step one is to ask “why” OSHA is present. Many inspections are triggered by a complaint and OSHA must tell you the reasons. As of this January 2015, employers in Fed-OSHA states must report to OSHA every hospitalization for more than observation, as well as all amputations. An amputation can be as modest as a tip of a finger. These focused responses increase the probability of an OSHA visit.


In each of these circumstances, admit OSHA for the purpose of the complaint and limit the inspection to the scope of the complaint. OSHA will broaden the inspection if the officials observe hazards or if employees mention other hazards. But require OSHA to justify expanding the scope. Be courteous and professional with the Compliance Officer but know and exercise your rights. Always focus first on safety, but that attitude does not preclude making OSHA live by its own procedures.


Recognize that OSHA must establish: 1) an applicable standard; 2) a hazard; 3) employee exposure; and 4) that the employer knew of the violation or hazard, or should have known of it with the exercise of “reasonable diligence.” Make sure that a hazard exists. Measure fall distances, check guards, etc. The burden is on OSHA to prove these four elements, so check to see if OSHA can prove that any employees were exposed in the last six months or would reasonably be expected to be exposed in the normal course of business. Is the area isolated? Do employees work near the alleged hazard? How often do employees travel in that area? How long was the hazard present?


OSHA may not document the employer’s “knowledge” of a violation. Any supervising employee’s knowledge of a violation is “imputed” to the company, and even when OSHA cannot prove that a supervising employee knew of the issue, they can establish this element by showing that the employer should have known of the violation with the “exercise of reasonable diligence.”


So OSHA must prove that the employer didn’t enforce safety rules, training was inadequate or the employer made little effort to provide oversight. Show that the company did exercise this due diligence. Other important questions include how long a violation was present, when supervisory employees were last in the area, and whether the employer did any walk-arounds or inspections.


Take Your Time
Don’t be rushed and bullied about documents. Some documents such as OSHA Form 300s and MSDSs must be promptly provided, but you have the right to a reasonable amount of time to provide other materials. Review them. Consider if materials may be privileged or protected work product. Don’t volunteer self-audits, insurance and consultant reports or other similar materials without talking to counsel.


If documentation is weak, try to determine where on-the-job instruction occurred or where oral instructions were provided. Counsel may be able to use such information as defenses, to reduce the classification, or to build good will. Obtain legal guidance: remember that if you knew of a standard’s requirement and did not follow it, there is a possibility that OSHA might assert a “willful” classification.


In developing defenses dig, dig, dig. There are always more facts. Don’t delegate. Ask the questions yourself.


Exercise your right to sit in on or have counsel attend interviews of any employee who supervises employees because they can bind the company. If a fatality, project delay, or any ancillary legal matter is involved, explain to OSHA that an additional concern is with protecting the company in other legal arenas.


You have an absolute right to sit in with managers but you might as well show courtesy to the Compliance Officer. This is probably a time to involve outside counsel. You may also want to contact counsel about whether OSHA will define an employee as a supervisor. OSHA uses a broader definition than the NLRB, or the wage-hour division.


OSHA has the right to interview hourly employees in private, but you can briefly explain to the employees the reason that they are being interviewed, and that you appreciate their cooperation and to tell the truth. Sometimes it is okay to tell them the topics OSHA may discuss and that may allow a bit of briefing, but mainly encourage them to tell the truth. Ensure that employees know that you appreciate their cooperation with OSHA. OSHA is very sensitive to even a whiff of intimidation or threat of retaliation.


Multiemployer worksites present special challenges. When more than one employer is on site, OSHA can cite the employee’s employer (the “exposing employer”) and the “supervising” employer who was directing the work (such as at construction sites or for contingent workers) or the “creating” employer who generated the hazard, or the “correcting” employer who was responsible to address the hazard, or all of the above!


Unfortunately, it often seems that one employer on site will try to persuade OSHA of questionable facts and throw other employers under the proverbial bus. Be alert.


Push Back
Do go to the OSHA Informal Conference after citations are issued, and do contest all citations if you have reasonable arguments. Remember that OSHA focuses on safety and does not consider whether the Secretary can carry its burdens before a Judge, but their attorneys do recognize this reality. Negotiations may be fruitful, but don’t contest the matter if you have nothing to back up your claims.


So long as you ensure OSHA knows that you will and are addressing any hazards, they will understand that your decision is dictated by business necessity and does not show a disregard for safety.


Finally. Do not miss the contest period! And be aware that many of the “State-OSHA plans” have different appeal processes.

New OSHA Reporting Requirements Now In Effect

January 19 - Posted at 3:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , ,

As 2015 begins, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is sharpening its emphasis on inspecting and citing employers who violate its recordkeeping standard. This takes on greater importance because of the changes and new reporting requirements effective on January 1, 2015.

 

New OSHA Reporting Rules
Under the new rules, all employers are now required to contact OSHA within 24 hours following an occurrence of any in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye, as well as the current requirement to contact OSHA within eight hours following a fatality. For reporting compliance, employers have three options when contacting OSHA: 1) call the nearest area office; 2) call OSHA’s 24-hour hotline 1-800-321-OSHA(6742); or 3) report online.

 

New Recordkeeping And Posting Requirements
Many new categories of employers must now maintain and post OSHA injury and illness records going forward. Employers who were already covered must complete and post their 2014 annual summary by February 1, 2015 and keep it posted until April 30, 2015. Employers must utilize the annual summary form (form 300A) to comply with the posting requirements. Even if you have no recordable injury or illness, you must still complete your 300 logs and post the 300A summary.

 

Below are some key details that are frequently misunderstood or overlooked which can lead to OSHA citations.

 

Executive Certification 
OSHA’s recordkeeping standard requires a certification of the 300A summary by a company executive. Four specific management officials may be considered “company executives” for purposes of certifying the 300A summary: 1) an owner of the company; 2) an officer of the corporation; 3) the highest-ranking company official working at the location; or 4) the immediate supervisor of the highest-ranking company official working at the location. This official must certify that he or she has reviewed the OSHA 300 logs and related records, and reasonably believes, based on knowledge of the process underlying the development of the data, that the posted summary is accurate and complete.

 

OSHA describes this requirement as imposing “senior management accountability” for the integrity and accuracy of the reported data. Human resources managers and safety directors normally cannot sign the OSHA 300A summary unless they are officers of the company.

 

Number Of Employees And Hours Worked
The annual summary requires employers to include a calculation of the annual average number of employees covered by the log and the total hours worked by all covered employees. The purpose of this requirement is to help employers compare the relative frequency of significant occupational injuries and illnesses at their workplace as compared to other establishments.

 

Posting Process 
The 300A summary must be posted in each establishment in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. You are under a duty to ensure that the posted annual summary is not altered, defaced or obscured during the entire posting period.

 

Those employers who maintain these records in electronic form should still retain the signed posted summary after the February 1 to April 30 posting period, to prove that it was properly signed.

 

You should provide copies of the 300A summary to any employee who may not see the posted summary because they do not report to a fixed location on a regular basis. Even where an establishment has had no recordable injuries or illnesses, you must still post the 300A summary with zeros in the appropriate lines and certified by a company executive.

 

Record Review
Before the annual summary is prepared, the recordkeeping rule imposes an express duty to review the log (form 300) to verify that entries are complete and accurate. Employers must review the records as “extensively as necessary” to ensure accuracy.

 

OSHA scrutinizes the forms 301, 300 and 300A for even minor errors in descriptions and boxes checked. Take time to review the forms for technical errors as well as to review accident reports, first aid logs and other related materials to ensure that all recordable incidents have been included and that records are consistent. Employers have a duty to update and maintain records for five years plus the current year and provide them upon request for inspection by OSHA investigators.

 

Newly Covered Employers
Finally, all employers who have previously been partially exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements and were not required to maintain the form 300, should review the updated industry exemption list to see if they are now covered. Under the new rule, 25 industries that were previously exempt are not, and must now maintain the OSHA 300 logs and other required documentations.

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