- By telephone to the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
- By telephone to the 24-hour OSHA hotline (1-800-321-OSHA or 1-800-321-6742).
- Electronically, via a web portal which should be available soon.
“I would caution employers against this new tool because it will require employers to memorialize an explanation about an incident that just occurred a few short hours earlier, and about which they cannot really know enough to commit to a description in writing that may later be used against them in enforcement proceedings,” advised Conn.
Certain covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 report forms. However, employers in certain low-hazard industries are partially exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. Starting on Jan. 1, 2015, however, an estimated 199,000 establishments that had previously been partially exempt will be nonexempt. These industries account for an estimated 173,000 injuries and illnesses per year, according to OSHA. In addition, 119,000 employers that were previously nonexempt will become partially exempt. These industries account for an estimated 76,000 injuries and illnesses per year.
The previous list of partially exempt industries was based on the older Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997 and 1998. The updated list of partially exempt industries is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and BLS injury and illness data from 2007, 2008 and 2009. “NAICS is the standard widely used by federal statistical agencies for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing data on business establishments. SIC codes are rarely used anymore,” Michaels said. The transition to NAICS has been promised since the 2001 revision to OSHA’s record-keeping standard.
The new rule maintains the record-keeping exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees regardless of industry classification.
The new list of exempt industries includes gasoline stations, clothing stores, newspaper publishers, colleges and universities, and full-service restaurants.
Industries newly required to keep records include automobile dealers, liquor stores, bakeries, performing arts companies, museums, historical sites, and emergency and other relief services.
Michaels said that OSHA is planning an extensive outreach effort with employers required to keep OSHA logs for the first time. “We will notify establishments in industries that are new to keeping OSHA logs, explaining their new obligations and where to find resources to help them,” he said. These resources include tutorials, information fact sheets and FAQs on OSHA’s new record-keeping webpage.
This final rule should not be confused with OSHA’s controversial proposal requiring employers to electronically submit injury-and-illness log data that would be posted on the agency’s public website. That proposed rulemaking continues to accept comments through Oct. 14, 2014.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.