Do California Employers Need to Worry About Federal Electronic Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements?

Sep 29 2017 - Health and Safety, Reporting Requirements - Gail Cecchettini Whaley

Mistake: “Had I known of your pregnancy, you would not have been hired.”

For now, federal electronic recordkeeping rules for injury and illness don’t apply to California employers.

California employers have many questions about whether the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic reporting requirements currently apply to them.  The short answer is no — California employers don’t need to follow the federal requirements at this time.

First, some background: In 2016, OSHA issued a final rule regarding the tracking and reporting of workplace injuries: Electronic submission — rather than paper submission — of injury and illness data, also known as the Log 300, will be required. Covered employers with 250 or more employees will be required to electronically submit the OSHA Form 300, 300A and 301.  Certain smaller employers in industries with high rates of injuries and illnesses will be required to electronically submit the OSHA Form 300A.

The federal electronic reporting requirements are phased in over a two-year period. Initial federal reporting requirements set for July 1 of this year were moved to December, and the current federal administration is also reviewing the final rule.

So what does all of this mean for employers who are governed by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA?

Federal OSHA has given states that operate their own safety and health programs, such as California, extra time to implement the new requirements. The federal compliance dates don’t apply to California employers.

According to Cal/OSHA, California employers are not required to follow the new federal requirements and will not be required to do so until “substantially similar” state regulations go through the formal rulemaking, adoption and approval process.

“California employers are not affected by the federal OSHA extension date because the new requirements have not yet been adopted or approved in California,” said Department of Industrial Relations Public Information Officer Frank Polizzi to the Cal-OSHA Reporter.

Cal/OSHA drafted a proposed rulemaking package to conform to the revised federal OSHA regulations. The package is being reviewed internally before the formal rulemaking process and public comment period begins.

Until Cal/OSHA implements the federal changes here in California, the federal rules will not be enforced. Employers should be on the lookout for California’s implementation of these federal rules.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber members can read more about Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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