A recent Bloomberg Environment article reported that “Almost Half of Employers Didn’t Comply With Injury Reporting Rule.” Employers required to maintain injury and illness records were required to submit their 2017 annual summary of workplace injury and illnesses, OSHA 300A Form, by July 1, 2018. Approximately 460,192 employers were expected to file the 300A Form, but only 248,884 had actually filed by August 3, a month after the actual deadline. Possible reasons to explain this 54% response rate, include:
- Confusion among employers as to who is legally obligated to file and what documents are to be filed
- The risk of repercussions for employers who fail to report is slight – OSHA can only cite for alleged violations less than 6 months old and when the Agency has cited employers for such violations the classification is typically other than serious.
- Employers would prefer to risk being issued a citation for failing to report rather than reporting and giving OSHA data which could be used against them at a later date
OSHA experienced similarly low electronic submissions last December when the first submission of the 300A by employers was due. At that time OSHA found that one-third of employers failed to submit the 300A Form. In response OSHA announced it would engage in greater outreach to inform and educate employers of the obligation to submit the 300A Form. OSHA has also indicated that it was going to conduct a mass mailing outreach to employers who did not submit their 300A forms to inform them of their obligations under the regulation.
Employers who were required to submit the 300A Form but failed to do so are subject to a citation and penalty until January 1, 2019, which is the duration of the six-month statute of limitation for OSHA to issue such citations.