The State of the Regs
Feb 6, 2019


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) withdrew part of its requirement that certain employers electronically file injury and illness data.  The safety agency’s proposed rule was pending with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a necessary step in the profession of regulatory rulemaking.  Announcing the withdrawal of the regulations, OSHA confirmed that employers with 250 or more employees no longer need to electronically submit information from their OSHA 300 forms (the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and their OSHA 301 forms (the Injury and Illness Incident Report).



Supporting its decision, OSHA determined that this final rule will allow OSHA to improve enforcement targeting and compliance assistance, protect worker privacy and safety, and decrease burden on employers.  Specifically, the agency sought to mitigate the risk that sensitive personal information might be publically disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act. The 300 and 301 forms must still be maintained at the workplace.  OSHA will continue to obtain those forms as needed through inspections and enforcement actions.  According to the safety agency, information from severe injury reports that helps target areas of concern for enforcement and compliance purposes.



OSHA did not change the requirement that information from OSHA 300A forms (the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) be submitted in electronic form.  The agency amended the recordkeeping regulation to require covered employers to electronically submit their Employer Identification Number (EIN) with their information from Form 300A. The deadline for electronically submitting EIN data is March 2, 2019.  The final rule’s requirement for employers to submit their EIN to OSHA electronically along with their information from OSHA Form 300A will make the data more useful for OSHA and BLS, and could reduce duplicative reporting burdens on employers in the future.



This OSHA action may affect state-based safety requirements, because several states operate their own OSHA programs.  In California for example, Cal/OSHA officials are monitoring  the federal rulemaking and its implementation of the electronic recordkeeping rule.  In fact, Cal/OSHA will convene an advisory committee meeting to evaluate how to implement the changes necessary to protect the goals of the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule, as issued May 12, 2016." The advisory committee meeting will on Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Oakland.  We’ll report back to you electronically.


Transportation Safety


The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is poised to loosen restrictions to make commercial drones more useful in the United States.  Under a set of proposed rules, commercial drone operators could fly aircraft at night and use them over populated areas.  That said, small unmanned aircraft can weigh no more than 0.55 pounds. That’s one-hundred times smaller than commercial delivery drones, which weigh about 55 pounds. There are currently 1.3 million registered drone aircraft in the US and more than 116,000 registered operators.



The National Transportation Safety Board released its 2019-2020 “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements” with six of the 10 items relating to truck drivers and the trucking industry.  Among the recommendations that could impact trucking are eliminating distracted driving, implementing a strategy to reduce speeding-related crashes, and increasing implementation of collision avoidance systems.  The NTSB has no regulatory power; however, its job is to recommend to regulators ways to prevent crashes and deadly accidents in all modes of transportation.  We’ll keep tracking the NTSB’s work. 


Making Our Way Around the Country


Staying with motor carrier safety, researchers at the University of Arkansas and Northeastern University examined the effects of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate on commercial vehicle after 1 year.  The study, entitled, “Did the Electronic Logging Device Mandate Reduce Accidents?” showed that small carriers, where ELD adoption saw the largest increase from 2017-2018, had no significant difference in the number of accidents.  Researchers did find that Hours of Service (HOS) violations decreased by 36.7% in the initial light-enforcement phase, and dropped another further 51.7% when stricter enforcement set in starting April 1, 2018. Even among owner-operators, who generally opposed the ELD mandate, HOS violations fell 43.9%.



California lawmakers and advocacy groups are debating issues involving independent contractor and employee classification.  Both sides are taking legislative approaches to the California Supreme Court decision in case called, Dynamex, which established a three part test (ABC Test) to determine whether workers were entitled to minimum wage and overtime.  Proposed legislation in Sacramento would expand the test to benefits such as unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, paid family leave, sick days and health insurance.  On the opposite of the aisle, GOP lawmakers filed a competing bill that would roll back the Dynamex provisions, citing the potential adverse effects of the Dynamex decision on the business community and the more than 2 million Californians who choose to flexible work schedules as independent contractors.



The President, shall from time to time, give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.  For the second time in his term, President Donald Trump,  joined by a number of special guests, accepted the Speaker of the House’s invitation, and addressed a joint session of Congress, and the nation, on a wide range of issues last night, including opioid abuse, the economy, and the  budget.  All eyes are on the budget, as another potential shutdown looms.  As for our team, we graciously accept your invitation to return next week to recommend expedient, necessary information for your consideration.


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