10 Reasons Why It Is Critical For Employers To Get OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting Right — And How to Ensure It is Done Right

By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. DiSalvo

Although OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting has always been important from an OSHA compliance perspective, making correct recording and reporting decisions (i.e., not over- or under- recording or reporting) has never been more vital than it is today. We are at a moment in OSHA’s history when the agency is clearly staffing up and ramping up inspections and enforcement generally, and with respect to injury and illness recordkeeping specifically, OSHA is on the precipice of issuing a significant expansion of the injury and illness data required to be submitted to OSHA each year.  Indeed, OSHA sent the final Electronic Recordkeeping Rule to OMB for final review, which is the last step in the rulemaking process before the rule is published.

OSHA developed and repeatedly touted its injury and illness recordkeeping program as a “no fault” system, requiring certain injuries and illnesses to be recorded (or proactively reported to OSHA), regardless whether the employer or its safety program could have prevented the injury. In practice, however, recordkeeping data has become another tool OSHA uses to justify enforcement efforts and actions against specific employers or their industries. From publicizing recordkeeping data to “shame” employers, or using the data to target enforcement resources, OSHA has made it essential for employers not to over-record cases; i.e., they must carefully scrutinize each potential recordable injury or illness, rather than erring on the side of recording every close call. Of course, there are also real and growing enforcement risks for under-recording; i.e., failing to record or report cases that should have been recorded or reported.

Accordingly, it is more important than ever before to make sure your organization fully understands the nuances of OSHA’s recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

Here is our take on the Top 10 reasons it is critical for employers to get OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping and reporting right (not recording or reporting more cases than necessary, and not failing to record or report cases that should be):

1.  OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping, which puts previously internal data now in OSHA’s hands and on its public website, is about to expanded significantly.

As a result of OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping rule, employers’ injury and illness data is now published on OSHA’s public website.  Unfortunately, because OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping program was designed to Continue reading

OSHA’s Top 10 Cited Standards for FY 2015

By Eric J. Conn, Chair of Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group

At the 2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo, OSHA announced its annual Top 10 list of the most frequently cited OSHA standards for fiscal year 2015. The Top 10 for FY 2015 are:

Top 10 List

For the fifth year in a row, Fall Protection (in construction) tops the list of most frequently cited OSHA Standards. Because of the trend, in 2014, OSHA began an annual campaign for a “National Fall Safety Stand-Down”. The Stand-Down entails employers and workers voluntarily stopping work and discussion fall hazards and fall protection via training presentations, toolbox talks or other means. More than 5,000 employers took part in the 2014 Stand-Down, impacting more than a million workers across the country.

Like the familiar view of Fall Protection at the top of the list, the overall top 10 list in general fits a common pattern from the past several years, with these same standards filling out the top 10, with only some slight variation in the order in which they appear on the list. Specifically, only Lockout/Tagout has moved up higher on the list from its previous standing. This increase is likely attributable to the Amputations National Emphasis Program to which OSHA has dedicated significant enforcement resources over the past two years.

Most notable on the list, however, is OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard, featured prominently as the second most frequently cited standard in FY15.HazCom Slide Hazard Communication is always high on this list, but with OSHA nearing the end of the rollout of the new GHS Hazard Communication standard, and all of the major compliance obligations (e.g., new labeling requirements, new form Safety Data Sheets, updated written programs and training) all already due or due within the next year, we can expect a real focus by OSHA on HazCom compliance Continue reading