Essential News

What hiring managers and professionals need to know – without the fluff.

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New Year, New Regulations: OSHA Updates

OSHA is stepping up enforcement and rolling out new rules in the new year. From electronic recordkeeping requirements to new procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints, here’s what you need to know to stay safe and compliant in 2024.

Electronic Recordkeeping

The new electronic recordkeeping rule requires employers with 100 or more employees to submit Form 300 or Form 301 at least once a year. New electronic recordkeeping rules will also apply to businesses with 250 or more employees and to employers in designated industries with 20 to 249 employees. Both groups must submit Form 300A at least once per year.

Reporting Occupational Exposure to COVID-19

As COVID-19 numbers tick upward and new variants emerge, OSHA’s update to occupational illness reporting rules becomes relevant. The agency includes COVID-19 as a “recordable illness” if a worker becomes infected “as a result of performing their work-related duties.” To report exposure to COVID-19, the required information should be recorded on the OSHA 300 log. Standards for these logs can be found in 29 CFR 1904.

Hazard Communications

OSHA is updating the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS, 29 CFR 1910.1200). The update will align the HCS with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Areas of focus for hazard communication updates include clarifying rules on labeling of both small chemical containers and bulk chemical shipments. New rules will also clarify how to relabel containers “released for shipment.”

Changes to OSHA Administrative Subpoena Rules

OSHA’s interim final rule on administrative subpoenas seeks to reduce roadblocks in the agency’s investigations of potential safety or health violations. OSHA’s power to administer subpoenas is already quite broad, allowing the agency to issue a subpoena whenever it needs records, documents, or other evidence. The new rules would further streamline the process.

Protections for Whistleblowers

Federal law has long protected whistleblowers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), but OSHA’s changes will strengthen these protections. Advice from OSHA to employers on whistleblower retaliation includes creating an effective anti-retaliation program to train workers and managers on appropriate responses to whistleblower activity.