Employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction have until Dec. 15, or an extra two weeks, to learn how to use the agency’s new electronic injury reporting system.
The day before Thanksgiving, OSHA officials announced the agency was extending the compliance deadline for filing the already-required workplace injury and illness reports in the agency’s new online system, officially known as the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The ITA was designed to allow officials to track injuries electronically.
This is the same system that was suspended for a few days in mid-August after it went live because of a warning from the Department of Homeland Security that information from at least one company that had already submitted through the portal might have been compromised.
Public access to the portal was restored a few days later. An OSHA spokesperson told HCPro’s OSHA Healthcare Advisor in an email in late August that the National Information Technology Center conducted a scan and confirmed that none of the ITA data had been compromised. (HCPro is a partner publisher to DecisionHealth under H3.Group.)
“As part of this review, the entire OSHA website was scanned and improvements implemented,” the spokesperson said.
Concerns about the ITA and the security of information have been among controversies that have dogged the program since it was first approved in a final rule in May 2016. The ITA was originally supposed to go into use in July, but was delayed because of related legal challenges.
In announcing this most recent delay, the federal agency noted that certain states with their own OSHA programs that have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically were not under the Dec. 15 deadline.
“Unless an employer is under federal jurisdiction, the following OSHA-approved State Plans have not yet adopted the requirement to submit injury and illness reports electronically: California, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming,” according to the OSHA announcement. “Establishments in these states are not currently required to submit their summary data through the ITA. Similarly, state and local government establishments in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and New York are not currently required to submit their data through the ITA.”
And other changes may be ahead. In addition to announcing the delay, OSHA said it is “currently reviewing the other provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, and intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking to reconsider, revise, or remove portions of that rule in 2018.”
— A.J. Plunkett (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Steven Porter (email@example.com)
• OSHA announcement of December 2017 delay: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDOL/bulletins/1c6be1d 
• OSHA Healthcare Advisor blog on potential security breach: http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha/2017/08/potential-security-breach-prompts-suspension-of-oshas-new-injury-tracking-portal/ 
• OSHA webpage on new electronic recordkeeping rule: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/