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February 11, 2019
Cal/OSHA to hold hearing on electronic recordkeeping

The California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has scheduled an advisory committee meeting for May 9, 2019, to discuss electronic submission of injury and illness records.

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On January 25, federal OSHA published a final rule rescinding the requirement for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301. Those establishments are now required to submit data from OSHA Form 300A only.

Cal/OSHA wants its advisory committee to evaluate whether the most recent federal action protects the goals of an earlier federal rulemaking.

On May 12, 2016, OSHA published a final rule titled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” which would have required employers with 250 or more employees to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300, 301, and 300A; and businesses with 20–249 employees in specified industries to electronically submit Form 300A by March 2 each year.

The OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms are:

  • OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses;
  • OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report (a supplemental report containing details of each incident); and
  • OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (filed annually).

Some requirements rescinded

On January 25, OSHA issued a final rule eliminating the requirements for electronic filing of OSHA Forms 300 and 301. Affected employers now must only file the annual summary, OSHA Form 300A, electronically.

The federal agency cited employee privacy concerns as the reason for rescinding the requirements to electronically file OSHA Forms 300 and 301.

“Cal/OSHA has determined that by rescinding the requirement to electronically submit Forms 300 and 301 data, OSHA has substantially diminished the requirements that were originally set forth in OSHA’s May 12, 2016, ‘Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses’ rule,” the agency said in information provided about the advisory committee meeting.

Separate requirements for California employers?

Cal/OSHA may decide to require electronic filing of Cal/OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The agency’s advisory committee will determine whether the goals of reducing injuries and illnesses in California workplaces outweigh any privacy concerns.

State occupational safety and health programs are required to be “at least as effective” as federal OSHA’s programs. State safety and health laws and regulations can be and sometimes are stricter than the federal standards.

California’s regulations are stricter than federal standards in a number of areas. For instance, some of California’s permissible exposure limits (PELs) for certain substances are lower than the federal PELs. The most frequently cited California standard is its Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulation, which has no federal counterpart.

There also is no federal counterpart for Cal/OSHA standards for:

  • Aerosol transmissible diseases,
  • Repetitive motion injuries, and
  • Workplace violence prevention in healthcare.

Meeting details

The advisory committee meeting is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elihu Harris Building, 1515 Clay Street, Suite 1304, Oakland, CA. Written comments may be emailed to ElectronicReporting@dir.ca.gov; and the comment period is open until 5 p.m. PDT on Friday, May 24.

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