OSHA published the new regulations earlier this year, but delayed implementation because of confusion over the rules and a pending legal challenge. The deadline for the rule to take effect was December 1st. That was in doubt because a number of business groups sued and filed for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented OSHA from implementing the rule.
However, late Monday evening, November 28th, the judge in the case denied the injunction. The case will continue, but the judge determined that OSHA can put the rule into place while the case is litigated. Based on everything we know now, that means the reporting requirements go into place tomorrow, December 1st.
What Does This Mean To Your Company?
The Rule impacts four areas:
It changes the way injuries and illness will be reported to OSHA.
OSHA’s goal is to make company injury and illness data available to the public over the Internet (without violating privacy laws). To do this, larger and many medium-sized companies will be required to report their information electronically.
It requires companies encourage employees to report any injuries.
OSHA will have the ability to penalize companies that are found to discourage reporting or, potentially, did not clearly communicate to employees the process to report.
It changes post-incident substance abuse testing.
While testing with cause will still be allowed, the rule prohibits blanket post-injury testing if there is not a reasonable expectation that the injury was caused by drug or alcohol use.
It changes the way companies use rewards to encourage safe behavior.