Documenting and logging workplace safety incidents, then pulling logs and reporting them to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), can be an onerous and labor-intensive recordkeeping process. Couple that with updates expected, but not yet released in detail, from OSHA regarding reporting requirements and timetables, employers are left to wonder how changes may impact their internal processes and further tax their already stretched teams to aid compliance.
For companies from 20 employees to Fortune 500s, developing the institutional knowledge, centralized platform for pulling and submitting OSHA logs, responding to an audit or OSHA inspection, or responding to a request for proposal is a year-round challenge that comes to a head between January and March every year.
Whether OSHA recordkeeping and reporting tasks are handled internally or with the assistance of a trusted partner, the goal is to ease complicated inhouse recordkeeping, capitalize on business opportunities and gain the confidence of meeting the annual reporting requirement and other regulatory mandates.
Reducing growing complexity
The Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics (BSL), along with OSHA, has expanded electronic reporting processes incorporating more employers and more site locations. 2023 has seen greater expansion than usual. Even companies with directors of risk management, worker’s compensation claims managers and efficient OSHA reporting processes are seeking additional reporting time and guidance. Read Broadspire’s report on this change here.
Adding to existing complexity, some organizations have several reporting entities. Consider an employer with multiple business units, such as a university with both an educational and hospital component. This can involve multiple risk management departments - for the school, the hospital or medical department, even the labs or the student body. One risk manager might want to know the number of injuries from one entity - or cumulative for the entire organization - over the past year, how safe the organization is, is there an area to focus on for safety over the next year? Gathering such information can be arduous to say the least.
What challenges may larger employers face?
Addressing year-round data gathering. Many companies address reporting needs in Q4 as they approach the January reporting deadline. Tending to data gathering and understanding trends throughout the year can provide 360-degree visibility 365 days of the year - preferably as early as possible to maximize opportunities or reduce challenges as they arise.
The need for centralization. A director of risk management with a large employer with multiple locations may face turnover in the department or among those tasked with OSHA log record keeping. Centralization, with data visualization, can provide a clearer view of incident reporting by location and across the organization.
Retention of ‘institutional knowledge. When a risk or claims manager critical to labor data and recordkeeping leaves the organization, that institutional knowledge may be lost. Not only can weekly injury reporting or a reportable worker’s compensation requirements fail to be met, the organization could struggle to meet the annual reporting deadline. Simply put, details such as days away from work, workers placed on modified or restricted duty, or other recordable events and details can get lost and put the organization at risk of being out of compliance.
Compiling voluminous data. Even if the data is collected, the public reporting requirement can be daunting. Completing, certifying and posting the OSHA Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses each year becomes more burdensome the larger the organization. At an average 14 minutes to search, gather, review and complete one form, this can require one or more full-time positions. The average Broadspire client has over 100 locations.
In early 2022, The Broadspire OSHA team conducted an exercise to better determine the challenges of internal OSHA recordkeeping. Using the Broadspire platform, clients were able to reduce by half the time and manpower required to meet the OSHA reporting requirement. Additional efficiencies also were found by having OSHA work in conjunction with the worker’s compensation program.
While the Department of Labor does not require this, and the two federal departments don’t work with or report to each other, internally reporting injuries, medical claims and worker’s compensation claims can provide a greater view of incidents and outcomes. For those employers not working with a claim and medical management services provider with a reporting platform such as Broadspire’s, the load form should be available from the current Third Party Administrator.
How can a 3rd Party improve efficiency in the processes and outcomes for OSHA recordkeeping & reporting?
Risk and safety managers in any industry and in any company with 20 or more employees might consider working with an OSHA recordkeeping service provider. Solutions can deliver a comprehensive suite of services that combines administrative and technical services to manage all OSHA‐required data maintenance and reporting.
This can include analytics‐driven recordkeeping decisions, comprehensive data management, an approved report format that can be uploaded to OSHA’s incident tracking application, and a designated OSHA specialist to oversee OSHA‐compliant reporting and case management, along with TPA service integration. The platform also should support the BLS survey responses drawn from OSHA reports, which are accessible by location that contain the required information.
RMIS and data visualization platforms provide real-time visibility and management of any OSHA cases and related information. The user also can download the data to leverage in management activities. Ultimately, the organization can improve visibility, efficiency and utilization of resources to improve outcomes.
OSHA reporting is burdensome in the best of times. With the right partner and platform, employers can remove the burden, better utilize available manpower, be prepared to seize on business opportunities, and face the new year with confidence.
Organizations uncertain whether their teams are staying efficient and compliant with OSHA reporting processes and deadlines, or if they are correctly determining recordable cases, can contact Broadspire. We can help lower costs and drive accuracy and efficiency.
Contact us at OSHA@choosebroadspire.com to set up a free OSHA consultation.