The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on April 5th, 2022, that it is beginning an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit annual workplace injury and illness data. Specifically, the program will target employers who did not submit Form 300A data through the online Injury Tracking Application (ITA). OSHA uses such injury and illness data to better understand safety and health in multiple industries. In March, OSHA proposed amendments to its injury and illness recordkeeping standard, requiring additional information from high-hazard industries.

Annual Electronic Injury and Illness Data Submission Requirements

OSHA requires employers with 250 or more employees to submit an annual Form 300A electronically through the ITA. In brief, Form 300A includes a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses during the previous calendar year. Covered employers must provide the required injury and illness data once a year.

Meanwhile, OSHA requires employers with 20 or more employees, but fewer than 250 employees, in designated industries to also submit an annual Form 300A electronically. Specifically, employers under this rule belong to specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. These industries include, but are not limited to:

  • agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting;
  • utilities;
  • scheduled air transportation;
  • urban transit systems; and
  • general medical and surgical hospitals.

Overview of OSHA’s Enforcement Program

In brief, the enforcement program will use ITA data to identify covered employers who failed to electronically submit annual injury and illness data as required by law. The program will compare recent inspections against a list of potential non-responders to OSHA’s Form 300A data collection. Next, the program will report matches to the corresponding OSHA area office. Finally, if the area office can positively match an inspection with a listed non-responder, OSHA will issue citations for non-compliance. OSHA will review the list weekly to verify:

  • Inspection status. (The area office will not take further action on closed inspections.)
  • If the establishment meets ITA reporting requirements, ensuring that the establishment meets 29 CFR 1904.41’s size and industry requirements.
  • That the match is valid. (If the open inspection record does not match a non-responder, the area office will not act.)

In addition to identifying employers who fail to report injury and illness data at the establishment level, OSHA is also reviewing the 2021 data on corporate level non-responders. OSHA is currently focusing this corporate review on the largest employers in the U.S.

The Value of Occupational Injury and Illness Data

All in all, OSHA’s enforcement program follows the Government Accountability Office’s recommendations to improve injury and illness data reporting. Undoubtedly, public access to such data on specific industries and companies lets employers and workers better understand workplace safety. This, in turn, allows them to make informed decisions. According to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker, “OSHA believes that it is vital for the public to have access to illness and injury information that employers provide in their annual submissions.” Finally, shared data within an industry can help employers compare operations and identify and mitigate workplace safety hazards.