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OSHA delays electronic record-keeping rule compliance date

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will delay the July 1 compliance date for the electronic submission of the 2016 Form 300A, the agency said Wednesday.

The record-keeping rule requires certain employers submit injury and illness data electronically. The rule applies to establishments with 250 or more employees and establishments with less than 250 employees but 20 or more in certain high-risk industries.

Experts say that there is still some uncertainty regarding what OSHA’s announcement means, as no new effective date was mentioned in an email sent to stakeholders.

“There is no indication of how long the delay may be or whether that impacts the ultimate compliance with the rule given the various lawsuits that have been filed in Texas and Oklahoma,” said Houston-based Matthew Deffebach, partner Haynes & Boone L.L.P.

Experts say the delay was expected.

“The problem that people have had is that we have not had a secretary of labor and we still don't have an assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, or any of the political deputies, and there are also no new political appointees in the solicitors’ office. Literally no one currently running OSHA knew what to do with this,” said Atlanta-based Howard Mavity, workplace safety and catastrophe management practice leader at Fisher Phillips L.L.P.

“OSHA is underfunded, and there has been a real question about whether they were even going to have the electronic architecture in place for employers to start submitting this data. The general assumption was that it was inevitable that they would delay it. The interesting question is whether this will be the first step in trying not to do it,” said Mr. Mavity.