KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Companies are grappling with the nuances of complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) new electronic recordkeeping rule that starts next year. Lockton, the world's largest privately held, independent insurance broker is offering companies clarity on issues to consider.
Lockton's risk control experts Larry Poague, Mae Ping Patrick and Christine Sullivan recently wrote a white paper outlining the submission and reporting requirements of OSHA's new rule. The controversial final rule requires companies to electronically submit information from their OSHA injury and illness records. Employers raised concerns about making the injury reports public. While the data has always been available to employees and their representatives, this will be the first time it is reported in such an open and easily accessible manner. "The first reporting requirement will be of your 2016 data," says Poague "Now is the time to make sure that you are keeping the correct records." The new rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2017 requiring companies to report their 2016 injuries. Employers also have to teach employees about new anti-retaliation provisions beginning Dec.1, 2016. They will later have to report steps taken to educate their employees as part of OSHA's new requirements. The anti-retaliation provisions require an employee education program on reporting workplace injuries. They must also inform employees that employers cannot retaliate against employees for reporting injuries. OSHA has delayed the anti-retaliation portion of the rule to Dec. 1, 2016 to allow employers time to conduct additional educational outreach and provide guidance to their staff. Once the new rule takes effect, employers can no longer conduct some post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs. Some programs can be construed as discouraging employees to report workplace injuries and violates OSHA's new rule. While employers cannot have a blanket post-accident drug and alcohol testing policy, they can have an "objectively reasonable basis" for testing.