On July 17th, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule requiring electronic injury and illness reporting by specific employers in designated high-hazard industries. The final rule affects injury and illness data that OSHA already requires these employers to keep. Meanwhile, OSHA also announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) focused on preventing common workplace hazards present in warehouses, distribution centers, and certain high-risk retail establishments. OSHA last announced a National Emphasis Program in May that was aimed at preventing falls.

Final Rule on High-Hazard Electronic Injury and Illness Reporting

OSHA’s final rule follows proposed amendments to injury and illness reporting announced in March 2022. OSHA already requires employers in designated high-hazard industries to keep Form 300-Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) and Form 301-Injury and Illness Incident Report (Form 301). OSHA’s final rule, which takes effect on January 1st, 2024, now includes the following changes to injury and illness reporting:

  • Employers with 100 or more workers in specific high-hazard industries must electronically submit information from their Form 300 and Form 301 to OSHA once a year. These submissions are in addition to the required Form 300A-Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
  • These specific employers will now need to attach their legal company name to all public electronic injury and illness reporting. According to OSHA, this will improve data quality.

OSHA will publish some of the injury and illness data on its website. This allows employers, employees, potential workers, representatives, customers, researchers, and the general public to view a specific company’s safety and health record. Such public injury and illness reporting allows these stakeholders to make informed decisions. OSHA hopes that this will ultimately reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.

Meanwhile, these employers with 20-249 employees in certain high-hazard industries and from establishments with 250 or more employees in industries that must routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records must still submit Form 300A electronically every year.

National Emphasis Program for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Last week, OSHA also announced a National Emphasis Program to prevent workplace hazards in warehouses, distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments. OSHA cited recent industry growth and a high industry injury and illness rate in such sectors in support of the NEP. Under the three-year program, OSHA will conduct detailed safety inspections focused on hazards commonly presented in these industries related to the following:

  • Operating industrial vehicles
  • Handling and storing materials
  • Walking and working surfaces
  • Means of egress
  • Fire protection

The NEP will also cover heat and ergonomic hazards. OSHA states it will conduct health inspections if there are hazards present at a specific facility. Additionally, the program includes heightened inspections at specific high-hazard retailers. Inspections will focus on storage and loading areas. However, inspections may expand to other areas if there is evidence of other safety violations. OSHA will select retail establishments based on data from injury and illness reporting.