The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has issued a new recordkeeping rule requiring employers in certain industries to electronically submit injury and illness data, some of which will be made public on OSHA’s website. A tarnished compliance record could mean a tarnished reputation in the eyes of customers, prospective employees, and the business community. A key component of your incident prevention strategy is ensuring that accurate EHS data is captured and shared with efficiency. A leading mobile data collection solution should be a primary tool in your digital toolkit, as it empowers you to achieve a clean compliance record – and exceed industry benchmarks.
OSHA’s new recordkeeping rule a “nudge” to employers
OSHA already mandates that many employers log injuries and illnesses. Analysis of this data will improve OSHA’s ability to identify safety hazards and prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths. By making this data publicly available, OSHA is seeking to incentivize employers to place a greater focus on safety.
“Our new rule will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent work injuries to show investors, job seekers, customers and the public they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target compliance assistance and enforcement resources, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer,” said David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
The drawbacks of manual data collection
Relying on antiquated manual processes for collecting and sharing EHS data leads to several well-documented pitfalls:
- Paper forms can suffer from illegible handwriting and are vulnerable to loss or theft while in transit. If critical data is not communicated properly, unaddressed EHS issues can lead to devastating consequences
- Manually transcribing data recorded on paper is a time-consuming and error-prone process
- When filed away, paper reports are difficult to access, leading to delays in demonstrating compliance in response to claims, litigation, or audits
- Manual processes don’t allow for the tracking of historical data to help prevent future EHS breaches
Mobile solutions drive compliance
Mobile solutions like ProntoForms allow you to effortlessly mobilize all your OSHA forms, and empower you to achieve compliance via an array of features and capabilities:
- Data input features (such as dropdown menus and buttons) and an overall user-friendly interface enable the efficient collection of accurate EHS data
- Offline form functionality allows field staff to fill out and send forms even in remote locations without network connectivity. Forms are auto-sent once the network is restored
- Photo capture and sketch pad features allow field workers to provide site images and annotate on top to fully convey issues and concerns
- Instant form submission allows EHS field workers to quickly submit reports to the back-office system for auditing and recordkeeping purposes. That data can then be forwarded electronically to OSHA
- Analytics tools allow you to track compliance progress and identify challenges by region, work group, site, or even individual employees. Analytics provides quick access to data that can confirm compliance to address legal, regulatory, or other requests
Prepare yourself – OSHA deadlines looming
The new regulations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017 and be phased in over two years.
Businesses with at least 250 employees must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and will also be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, this information must be submitted annually by March 2.
Establishments with between 20 and 249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, as with larger businesses, these smaller establishments must also submit this information by March 2 of every year.