On October 5, 2015, OSHA submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), a draft final rule for OSHA’s “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.”  OIRA is the division within the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that reviews draft and final standards and regulations. Under Executive Order, all significant regulatory actions require OIRA review before agency actions can be implemented.  Generally, OIRA has up to 90 days to review a rule.

OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking for “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” in November 2013 to add electronic recordkeeping requirements that would require certain employers to electronically submit to OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping information on a quarterly or annual basis. Additionally, the proposed rule sought to establish a public searchable website where OSHA would make employers’ injury and illness records available to the general public.

In August 2014, OSHA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the proposed rule to include provisions that would (1) require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses; (2) require that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome; and (3) prohibit employers from taking adverse [termination, reduction in pay, reassignment to less desirable position] action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

The submission of this draft final rule to OIRA is a strong signal that this rule is in final stages and once it clears OIRA OSHA will have the green light to issue a final rule in the Federal Register.  What does this mean for employers?  It means that OSHA anticipates publication of this final rule very soon, likely by the end of the year, and if that happens it is likely OSHA will aim to have this rule in effect in January 2016.