OSHA's Final Rule to Protect Privacy of Workers

The Purpose of OSHA's Final Rule is to Protect the Privacy of Workers

At the beginning of each new year, HCP receives many questions regarding injury logs, usually asking whether an organization is required to submit reports to OSHA and what forms to use. This year we have had several additional questions come in asking about the requirement for certain establishments to electronically submit information to OSHA. As it turns out, OSHA issued a Final Rule that eliminated the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA each year, starting in 2019. However, these establishments are still required to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses).

According to OSHA, by preventing routine government collection of information that may be quite sensitive, including descriptions of workers' injuries and body parts affected, OSHA is avoiding the risk that such information might be publicly disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This Final Rule will better protect personally identifiable information or data that could be re-identified with a particular worker by removing the requirement for covered employers to submit their information from Forms 300 and 301. The Final Rule does not alter an employer's duty to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 on-site, and OSHA will continue to obtain these forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.

In addition, OSHA is amending the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to include their Employer Identification Number along with future electronic submissions of Form 300A. This Final Rule requirement will make the data more beneficial and could reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.