When the Trump administration took office on January 20, 2017, a lot of Obama-era regulations and executive orders were expected to be rolled back. Under the U.S. political system, it takes an act of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) to reverse another act of Congress. But executive orders signed by the President and many actions taken by government agencies (OSHA, EPA, FDA, etc.) can be reversed by another administration without Congressional action.
But one Obama-era regulation survived the Trump-era deregulation, at least in part. In 2016, OSHA issued its Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses recordkeeping rule requiring establishments with 250 or more employees that maintained injury and illness records to electronically submit information to OSHA from Forms 300, 300A and 301.
In July 2018, OSHA to eliminate the requirement to electronically submit information from Forms 300 and 301. The requirement to submit data from Form 300A remained. The deadline for electronic submission of Calendar Year 2017 data from OSHA Form 300A was July 1, 2018.
A Low Compliance Rate
What is the response rate to the July 1, 2018 deadline to submit Form 300A data to OSHA? Not good. According to a Bloomberg Environment article, approximately 460,192 employers were expected to file Form 300A, but only 248,884 had actually filed by August 3, about a month after the July 1 deadline. According to the law firm Jackson Lewis, the possible reasons to explain the 54% response rate include:
- Confusion among employers as to who is legally required to file and what documents are to be filed.
- A perceived low risk of consequences for employers that fail to report. There is a six-month statute of limitation for OSHA to issue citations for failing to report.
- Employers would prefer to risk being issued a citation rather than reporting and giving OSHA data that could be used against them later.
Make it Easy to Submit Data
Let’s take a closer look at the possible reasons mentioned above why organizations are not submitting Form 300A data. Is there a way to make things easier and enable compliance through a software solution? For the third reason, it’s hard to imagine that software can make a difference. If an organization is purposely and willfully refusing to submit their data, that’s a business decision that is not influenced by technology.
But for the first two reasons, what if it was easy to submit OSHA Form 300A data? What if it could be done automatically and with just a few clicks? Employers would not be confused about what needs to be submitted. Also, they would not weigh the risks of non-compliance because it would be simple to submit and therefore they wouldn’t need to debate whether the effort is worth it.
Automatic Upload of Form 300A Data
There is a field-proven and trusted solution today to easily submit Form 300A data to OSHA and ensure compliance. The Enablon platform includes an API functionality that connects directly with OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application. The API makes the reporting process faster, easier, more efficient and more accurate, compared to the two other alternatives (manual data entry or CSV file upload), and requires no customization.
Users have access to a submission dashboard in Enablon that helps automate the electronic reporting process, and offers a real-time status of all establishments’ submission records in one place. Organizations log all injuries and illnesses in Enablon as they occur, so there is no need to further gather and aggregate the data.
With the API, Form 300A data upload is automatic and just needs a quick review before submitting. It reduces the time needed for report submission by 75%, compared to extracting and uploading CSV files. To learn more about this functionality and all the other ways in which Enablon can help you meet your safety and compliance needs, browse through our website or contact us.
View the recording of our webinar with J.M. Huber and Arcadis to learn valuable tips and best practices on the EHS software journey, including software selection, implementation, roll out, user adoption, and change management: