Employers responding to workplace accidents or other incidents remember health and injury investigation, recording and reporting duties don’t end just because a worker doesn’t report an injury immediately following the injury or in the injury reporting period designated in the employer’s injury or other incident reporting policy.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and most state occupational safety laws generally require employers to provide a safe workplace as well as comply with a host of safety, notification, injury tracking and reporting and other requirements. In addition to actual safety violations, recordkeeping violations like failing to maintain an accurate OSHA 300 Log, file a timely 301 Incident Report or other inadequacies in an employer’s recordkeeping practices are a common source of penalties imposed by OSHA.
Under the OSH Act, employers must meet all applicable Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) safety standards and otherwise provide a workplace free from serious hazards, as well as comply with notice, recordkeeping, reporting, anti-retaliation and other OSH Act rules. OSHA interprets and enforces this rule as generally requiring employers to find and correct all safety and health problems, as well meet OSHA’s poster and other employee notice, documentation, recordkeeping, reporting and other requirements.
Employers generally recognize timely treatment of the injured and prompt post-accident investigation and redress of safety issues that caused or contributed to an injury. However, many employers overlook or underestimate all the steps OSHA expects employers to take to protect workers against occupational injuries or illnesses, the breadth of the workers that OSHA views as employees entitled to these protections, employers’ responsibility to investigate, document and report injuries or other safety incidents or the documentation that most employers need to create and maintain to meet OSHA’s regulations and expectations in the event of an incident or other OSHA audit or investigation. OSHA’s safety mandates require employers whose workers or contractors are involved in accidents or other safety incidents on a jobsite generally that do not result immediately in an obvious injury or injury report that generally arises under state worker’s compensation or other occupational health and safety laws or both.
As part of its broader workplace safety requirements, OSHA’s OSH Act regulations generally require that employers report each and every recordable injury on a 301 Incident Report within seven calendar days of when the employer gets information that the injury or illness occurred as well as include that injury or illness on the employer’s OSHA 300 Log for that year. These requirements, as well as those imposed under applicable state worker’s compensation and occupational health and safety laws, generally apply even if the occupational accident or injury does not result in the payment of worker’s compensation or other occupational injury benefits.
While OSHA always interpreted the OSHA 300 Log requirement as imposing a continuing obligation upon an employer to correct or supplement the records and file the 301 Incident Report as necessary to ensure proper documentation and reporting of all required incidents or injuries, employers often fail to update or supplement the OSHA 300 Log to reflect previously omitted information.
OSHA now is planning to amend its existing regulations to make the continuing nature of the employer’s responsibilities to record and report injuries even more clear. To this end, OSHA recently published proposed changes to its current regulations that it hopes will more clearly emphasize employers’ responsibility to report all injuries on the OSHA 300 Log for an applicable year. The proposed clarifications to existing regulations make clear that OSHA expects employers to review the OSHA 300 Log before certifying its completeness at year end and that OSHA anticipates that the duty to update the OSHA 300 Log to include previously omitted information continues until the end of the five-year retention period in OSHA Regulation § 1904.33(a) has run.
Among other things, the proposed changes would clarify that in addition to keeping the required OSHA 300 Log and making required 301 Incident Reports throughout the year, employers also among other things:
- Must examine each year’s OSHA 300 Log at the end of the year to ensure that each and every recordable injury and illness is recorded on the Log, and that each entry is accurate. If an employer discovers, during this review, that an injury or illness is missing or that any aspect of an entry is inaccurate, the employer must correct the deficiency.
- After reviewing and verifying the OSHA 300 Log entries, must verify that all entries on the Log are accurately recorded on OSHA 301 Incident Reports and if this review shows that an injury or illness was initially left off of the OSHA 300 Log, the employer must both add it to the log and create an accurate Incident Report for that injury or illness;
- That the employer’s annual summary should be created only after an employer verifies the accuracy of the Log.
- The deadline to comment on OSHA’s proposed changes to its regulation is September 28, 2015. Interested employers should review and comment on the proposed changes as soon as possible and no later than the September 28, 2015 deadline. Even if an employer does not choose to comment on the proposed changes, however, each employer should review its existing OSH Act records and recordkeeping practices to confirm that the employer is meeting all recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Employers that do not already do so also should verify that these procedures ensure that appropriate steps are taken to ensure that the OSHA 301 Incident Report is timely filed for each reported incident, as well as to ensure that the OSHA 300 Log’s completeness is maintained and verified.
For Legal or Consulting Advice, Legal Representation, Training Or More Information
If you need help responding to these new or other workforce, benefits and compensation, performance and risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, help updating or defending your workforce or employee benefit policies or practices, or other related assistance, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer may be able to help.
Recognized as a “Top” attorney in employee benefits, labor and employment and health care law extensively involved in health and other employee benefit and human resources policy and program design and administration representation and advocacy throughout her career, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney and Managing Shareholder of Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C., a member of Stamer│Chadwick │Soefje PLLC, author, pubic speaker, management policy advocate and industry thought leader with more than 27 years’ experience practicing at the forefront of employee benefits and human resources law.
A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, past Chair and current Welfare Benefit Committee Co-Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Section Employee Benefits Group, Vice Chair of the ABA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Employee Benefits Committee, former Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, an ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Council Representative and Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ms.Stamer is recognized nationally and internationally for her practical and creative insights and leadership on health and other employee benefit, human resources and insurance matters and policy.
Ms. Stamer helps management manage. Ms. Stamer’s legal and management consulting work throughout her 27 plus year career has focused on helping organizations and their management use the law and process to manage people, process, compliance, operations and risk. Highly valued for her rare ability to find pragmatic client-centric solutions by combining her detailed legal and operational knowledge and experience with her talent for creative problem-solving, Ms. Stamer helps public and private, domestic and international businesses, governments, and other organizations and their leaders manage their employees, vendors and suppliers, and other workforce members, customers and other’ performance, compliance, compensation and benefits, operations, risks and liabilities, as well as to prevent, stabilize and cleanup workforce and other legal and operational crises large and small that arise in the course of operations.
Ms. Stamer works with businesses and their management, employee benefit plans, governments and other organizations deal with all aspects of human resources and workforce management operations and compliance. She supports her clients both on a real time, “on demand” basis and with longer term basis to deal with daily performance management and operations, emerging crises, strategic planning, process improvement and change management, investigations, defending litigation, audits, investigations or other enforcement challenges, government affairs and public policy. Well known for her extensive work with health care, insurance and other highly regulated entities on corporate compliance, internal controls and risk management, her clients range from highly regulated entities like employers, contractors and their employee benefit plans, their sponsors, management, administrators, insurers, fiduciaries and advisors, technology and data service providers, health care, managed care and insurance, financial services, government contractors and government entities, as well as retail, manufacturing, construction, consulting and a host of other domestic and international businesses of all types and sizes. Common engagements include internal and external workforce hiring, management, training, performance management, compliance and administration, discipline and termination, and other aspects of workforce management including employment and outsourced services contracting and enforcement, sentencing guidelines and other compliance plan, policy and program development, administration, and defense, performance management, wage and hour and other compensation and benefits, reengineering and other change management, internal controls, compliance and risk management, communications and training, worker classification, tax and payroll, investigations, crisis preparedness and response, government relations, safety, government contracting and audits, litigation and other enforcement, and other concerns.
Ms. Stamer uses her deep and highly specialized health, insurance, labor and employment and other knowledge and experience to help employers and other employee benefit plan sponsors; health, pension and other employee benefit plans, their fiduciaries, administrators and service providers, insurers, and others design legally compliant, effective compensation, health and other welfare benefit and insurance, severance, pension and deferred compensation, private exchanges, cafeteria plan and other employee benefit, fringe benefit, salary and hourly compensation, bonus and other incentive compensation and related programs, products and arrangements. She is particularly recognized for her leading edge work, thought leadership and knowledgeable advice and representation on the design, documentation, administration, regulation and defense of a diverse range of self-insured and insured health and welfare benefit plans including private exchange and other health benefit choices, health care reimbursement and other “defined contribution” limited benefit, 24-hour and other occupational and non-occupational injury and accident, ex-patriate and medical tourism, onsite medical, wellness and other medical plans and insurance benefit programs as well as a diverse range of other qualified and nonqualified retirement and deferred compensation, severance and other employee benefits and compensation, insurance and savings plans, programs, products, services and activities. As a key element of this work, Ms. Stamer works closely with employer and other plan sponsors, insurance and financial services companies, plan fiduciaries, administrators, and vendors and others to design, administer and defend effective legally defensible employee benefits and compensation practices, programs, products and technology. She also continuously helps employers, insurers, administrative and other service providers, their officers, directors and others to manage fiduciary and other risks of sponsorship or involvement with these and other benefit and compensation arrangements and to defend and mitigate liability and other risks from benefit and liability claims including fiduciary, benefit and other claims, audits, and litigation brought by the Labor Department, IRS, HHS, participants and beneficiaries, service providers, and others. She also assists debtors, creditors, bankruptcy trustees and others assess, manage and resolve labor and employment, employee benefits and insurance, payroll and other compensation related concerns arising from reductions in force or other terminations, mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and other business transactions including extensive experience with multiple, high-profile large scale bankruptcies resulting in ERISA, tax, corporate and securities and other litigation or enforcement actions.
Ms. Stamer also is deeply involved in helping to influence the Affordable Care Act and other health care, pension, social security, workforce, insurance and other policies critical to the workforce, benefits, and compensation practices and other key aspects of a broad range of businesses and their operations. She both helps her clients respond to and resolve emerging regulations and laws, government investigations and enforcement actions and helps them shape the rules through dealings with Congress and other legislatures, regulators and government officials domestically and internationally. A former lead consultant to the Government of Bolivia on its Social Security reform law and most recognized for her leadership on U.S. health and pension, wage and hour, tax, education and immigration policy reform, Ms. Stamer works with U.S. and foreign businesses, governments, trade associations, and others on workforce, social security and severance, health care, immigration, privacy and data security, tax, ethics and other laws and regulations. Founder and Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Healthcare Policy and its PROJECT COPE: the Coalition on Patient Empowerment and a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation and State Bar of Texas, Ms. Stamer annually leads the Joint Committee on Employee Benefits (JCEB) HHS Office of Civil Rights agency meeting and other JCEB agency meetings. She also works as a policy advisor and advocate to many business, professional and civic organizations.
Author of the thousands of publications and workshops these and other employment, employee benefits, health care, insurance, workforce and other management matters, Ms. Stamer also is a highly sought out speaker and industry thought leader known for empowering audiences and readers. Ms. Stamer’s insights on employee benefits, insurance, health care and workforce matters in Atlantic Information Services, The Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), InsuranceThoughtLeaders.com, Benefits Magazine, Employee Benefit News, Texas CEO Magazine, HealthLeaders, Modern Healthcare, Business Insurance, Employee Benefits News, World At Work, Benefits Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other publications. She also has served as an Editorial Advisory Board Member for human resources, employee benefit and other management focused publications of BNA, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com and many other prominent publications. Ms. Stamer also regularly serves on the faculty and planning committees for symposia of LexisNexis, the American Bar Association, ALIABA, the Society of Employee Benefits Administrators, the American Law Institute, ISSA, HIMMs, and many other prominent educational and training organizations and conducts training and speaks on these and other management, compliance and public policy concerns.
Ms. Stamer also is active in the leadership of a broad range of other professional and civic organizations. For instance, Ms. Stamer presently serves on an American Bar Association (ABA) Joint Committee on Employee Benefits Council representative; Vice President of the North Texas Healthcare Compliance Professionals Association; Immediate Past Chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, its current Welfare Benefit Plans Committee Co-Chair, on its Substantive Groups & Committee and its incoming Defined Contribution Plan Committee Chair and Practice Management Vice Chair; Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group and a current member of its Healthcare Coordinating Council; current Vice Chair of the ABA TIPS Employee Benefit Committee; the former Coordinator and a Vice-Chair of the Gulf Coast TEGE Council TE Division; on the Advisory Boards of InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com, HR.com, Employee Benefit News, and many other publications. She also previously served as a founding Board Member and President of the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence, as a Board Member and Board Compliance Committee Chair for the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas; the Board President of the early childhood development intervention agency, The Richardson Development Center for Children; Chair of the Dallas Bar Association Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Committee; a member of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Benefits Association. For additional information about Ms. Stamer, see www.cynthiastamer.com, or www.stamerchadwicksoefje.com the member of contact Ms. Stamer via email here or via telephone to (469) 767-8872.
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