Another delay in OSHA’s EHR requirements may mean changes coming in reporting rules

Newswire: Nov. 29, 2017.

Dateline: Washington

Once again, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended its deadline requiring employers to submit injury and illness reports electronically. Now it is reviewing provisions of that rule and will publish a notice that it will reconsider or even remove portions of it next year.

Dec. 1 was to have been the deadline for employers of a certain size or in certain sectors to start recording injuries and illnesses electronically. The requirement falls under the Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule, which concerns businesses with 250 or more employees, or as few as 20 employees in higher-risk sectors such as construction, forestry and agriculture.

The reporting requirement had been postponed multiple times since the launch of a new electronic reporting system on Aug. 1. OSHA gave the latest two-week extension to allow more employers to become familiar with the system.

The repeated delays give employers the sense that OSHA might revisit some parts of its regulation, including, for example, a prohibition on post-accident drug testing, which some see as necessary given the mainstream problem of opioid over-prescription and abuse.

Some employers are also unhappy that OSHA will publish the illness and injury data it receives under the electronic reporting system. They feel the data lacks context and could also be misused. Labor advocates are also concerned that the reporting system would release workers’ personal information, despite OSHA promises to scrub that before publication.

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