OSHA Issues Final Rule That Includes New Requirements for Providers
Guest Article: Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule on July 18, 2023, that requires providers to submit injury and illness information electronically to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Providers are already required to keep the data that must be submitted to OSHA effective January 1, 2024. Submission requirements include:
- Providers with more than twenty employees at all times during the year must electronically submit information from their Log of Work-Related injuries and illnesses (Form 300) or Injury and Illness Incident Report (Form 3010) to OSHA once per year.
- Providers must include their legal company names when making electronic submission to OSHA in order to improve the quality of data.
OSHA makes no bones about the fact that this data will be used to intervene through strategic outreach and enforcement action to help reduce worker injuries and illnesses.
The final rule also requires providers to:
- Inform employees about their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free of retaliation Implement a procedure to report work-related injuries and illnesses that must be reasonable and that does not deter or discourage employees from reporting;
- Prohibit retaliation against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses;
The prohibition against retaliation has been expanded under the new rule. Specifically, Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act already prohibits retaliation. OSHA cannot take action under this section, however, unless employees file complaints with OSHA within thirty days of the retaliation. Now OSHA will be able to cite providers for retaliation even if employees did not file complaints, or if providers have programs that deter or discourage reporting through the threat of retaliation.
The new rule also says that:
- Employers can meet the requirement to inform employees of their right to report by posting OSHA’s “It’s the Law” worker rights poster from April, 2015, or later.
- Employers may require employees to take drug tests after incidents.
- OSHA will provide a secure website that providers can use to electronically submit required information. The website will include forms for direct data entry and instructions for other avenues of submission, such as file uploads. Providers will not be allowed to submit information on paper.
OSHA is currently quite concerned about providers who are subjected to violence in the workplace. The issue of workplace violence will be very difficult to address for both institutional providers and providers of services to patients in their homes. One thing is certain: providers dare not ignore reports from employees about threatened or actual violence.
©2023 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.
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