The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week proposed a delay in the electronic reporting compliance date of the rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, from July 1, 2017, to Dec. 1, 2017.
The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity to further review and consider the rule.
The agency published the final rule on May 12, 2016, and “has determined that a further delay of the compliance date is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy,” a statement from the agency says. “The delay will also allow OSHA to provide employers the same four-month window for submitting data that the original rule would have provided.”
OSHA invites the public to comment on the proposed deadline extension. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by mail. The deadline for submitting comments is July 13, 2017.
The rule was intended to modernize injury data collection and incorporate that reporting into a new public database.
OSHA requires many employers to keep a record of injuries and illnesses to help identify hazards, fix problems, and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. “Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA,” a statement by the agency said in 2016. “Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency's website.”
Just as public disclosure of their kitchens' sanitary conditions encourages restaurant owners to improve food safety, OSHA officials, at the time, said it expected that public disclosure of work injury data will encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.
To ensure that the injury data on OSHA logs are accurate and complete, the rule also promoted an employee's right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarified that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting.
Using data collected under the new rule, OSHA had plans to create “the largest publicly available data set” on work injuries and illnesses. In compiling that database, it will remove all personally identifiable information associated with the data before it is publicly accessible.
The Labor Department has also sent a Request for Information related to its “overtime rule” to the Office of Management and Budget for its review. When published, the RFI offers the opportunity for the public to comment.
The rule modified the Fair Labor Standards Act and its application to white-collar workers. Previously, only employees with an annual salary of more than $23,660 who performed certain duties could be required to work more than 40 hours a week without being compensated with overtime.
The rules reset that threshold to $47,476 a year. It also expanded the definition of “salary basis” to allow non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments, including commissions, to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary test requirement.
The rule is currently on hold, pending a legal challenge.