December Deadlines: OSHA and DOT Safety Reg Changes

December is supposed to be a slow month, but not in the world of safety compliance.  Both OSHA and the Department of Transportation are implementing significant initiatives.  Here’s a short rundown on deadlines you may need to know about:


Injury and Illness Reporting (29 CFR Part 1904)

Important Update: OSHA has announced that it will not enforce the changes in the injury and illness reporting rules until December 31st.  That means that employers have until the end of the year to file under the new electronic reporting system.   However, OSHA says, starting January 1, 2018, it will no longer accept the 2016 data.

– After much delay the changes to the recordkeeping rule went into effect on December 15, 2017.  Under the changes, all covered establishments must electronically submit information from the 2016 OSHA Form 300A to OSHA on or before December 15, 2017. Covered establishments include:

  • Establishments with 250 or more employees at any time during the year in covered industries.
  • Establishments with 20-249 employees at any time during the calendar year in covered “high hazard” industries.
  • Employers must use OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) to submit this data:

This may not be the final word on the rule, which was already been delayed twice.  There is at least one industry lawsuit against the change and the Department of Labor has already said it is evaluating the entire rule.

Some parts of the rule are already in place.   The rule bans any employer retaliation against employees who report injuries or any effort by employers to discourage reporting.   Two of the more controversial provisions are language that discourage certain types of safety awards and limitations on post-injury drug and alcohol testing.

New OSHA Director Nominated – The Senate held confirmation hearings on Scott Mugno, the nominee for as assistant secretary of OSHA. Mr. Mugno is currently the vice president for safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground.  While he did face tough questioning, he was approved by the committee and is expected to be confirmed by the Senate.  One dark cloud on the process is that every Republican on the committee voted for confirmation, but every Democrat voted against.   It remains to be seen what impact he will have on OSHA.  It is believed that there are several rulemaking decisions that are waiting for the new head of OSHA to be confirmed.

Department of Transportation

Modifications to Drug Testing Programs (49 CFR Part 40) –  On November 10, 2017, DOT published the changes in the Federal Register, effective January 1, 2018 and applicable to all testing required under the Department of Transportation (DOT) published new regulations that modify of DOT (Part 40) drug testing programs.  The changes are effective January 1, 2018 and apply to all workers covered under DOT testing programs.

The rule, among other items, added four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).  It also added methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte and removed the testing for methylenedioxyethylamphetaime (MDEA).

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and Hours of Service (49 CFR Parts 385, 386, 390, and 395) – On December 16, 2015, DOT published the Rule in the Federal Register, effective December 18, 2017, requiring the installation of electronic logging devices in trucks. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time and hours of service (HOS).  According to reports, Truckers have a grace period until April 1, 2018, to have the ELDs installed. This means truckers who are not compliant will not be placed out of service nor have points addressed against them, but there still may be citations and fines associated with it.

The ELD rule applies to most motor carriers and drivers who are currently required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) per Part 395, 49 CFR 395.8(a). The rule applies to commercial buses as well as trucks, and to Canada- and Mexico-domiciled drivers. There are an estimated 3.5 truck drivers who may be impacted by the change.

Need help staying on top of new regulations?  Is it time to look at your overall compliance program to make sure you are ready when the regulators come calling?  Contact us as

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