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OSHA Steps Up Enforcement of Electronic Filing Rule

April 10, 2018
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is getting serious with employers who failed to comply with its 2017 electronic filing regulation.
As part of any on-site inspection, OSHA has instructed its compliance officers to inquire whether that establishment electronically filed its 2016 300A form. If it should have and did not, the OSHA inspector will issue an “other-than-serious” citation for failing to comply with the regulation.  An “other-than-serious” violation is defined by OSHA to mean a violation that has a direct relationship to job health and safety but is not serious in nature. 
An “other-than-serious” violation leads to a penalty of up to $12,934. The rate reflects a federal penalty inflation law adopted a few years ago to make annual adjustments to the original fines.  
A bit of background.
OSHA’s 2016 Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses regulation requires certain employers (250 or more employees and 20 to 249 employees in certain industrial classification codes) to annually file electronically either their 300A or their 300A, 300 Log and 301 forms, depending on certain OSHA established criteria. For 2017, all employers covered by the regulation were required to file only their 2016 300A form.
The deadline became a moveable feast in 2017 as the Federal government pushed back the compliance date from the original July 1 eventually to Dec 30, 2017. More than 214,000 300A forms were submitted, far short of the 350,000 300A forms OSHA expected to receive. According to OSHA, more than one-third of businesses required to respond did not. For the one-third, as of January 1, 2018, it is too late to comply with the 2017 submission date. 
According to OSHA, the agency has six-months, from December 15, 2017 until June 15, 2018, to issue citations to those employers who failed to electronically file the required information.
OSHA has also indicated that it will conduct a mass mailing outreach to employers who did not submit their 300A forms to inform them of their obligations under the regulation. Additionally, OSHA is currently reviewing the 300A forms that were submitted and intends to use the data to develop inspection targeting.
Please contact the AIM Employer Hotline at 800-470-6277 if you have any questions about this or any other HR-related matter.
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