OSHA delays start date of anti-retaliation provisions

You get to circle a new date on the calendar. Although originally scheduled to start August 1st, enforcement of the new anti-retaliation provisions related to employee reporting of injury or illness has been delayed until December 1st.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the delay less than a week after a business coalition, which included Associate Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the National Association of Manufacturers, filed a lawsuit challenging the new requirement, saying it limited their investigative options following an accident report.

As a previous MJ blog outlined, the anti-retaliation provision expressly bars employers from retaliating against employees who report an injury or illness, while also mandating that reporting procedures be “reasonable” so as not to deter or discourage reporting in the first place.

During the delay, OSHA says it intends “to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.”

Of course, deadlines always have a way of creeping up on you, so we encourage everyone to continue review of their existing injury and illness policies to identify any areas that may be in opposition to the new anti-retaliation provisions. While you now won’t be expected to have any changes in place until November, you should take advantage of the extra time for preparation.

As a reminder, here’s who the ruling and new deadline impacts:

  • Any business with 250 or more employees that is already required to record onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.
  • Any business in a high risk industry, such as agriculture, forestry, construction or manufacturing with 20 – 249 employees.

Also, keep in mind that deadlines for required electronic reporting remain unchanged:

  • July 1, 2017 for 2016 injuries and illnesses
  • July 1, 2018 for 2017 data

Beginning 2019, the target date shifts to March 2nd.