A federal judge has ruled that data from OSHA’s 300A form is not confidential.
Employers are already required to share injury and illness information with current and former employees, who are free to share it.
The lawsuit stemmed from a Freedom of Information Act request made by the Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization. The organization was seeking information from OSHA Forms 300A, 300 and 301. The ruling only concerned form 300A as OSHA no longer collects information on 300 and 301.
What is the OSHA Form 300A?
Each year, employers must show a summary of all work-related illnesses and injuries. In form 300A the number of cases, days away from work, and injury or illness are added up for a grand total. The organization must also list their information and provide a signature for OSHA’s internal use.
Is Any Form 300A Information Confidential?
In the June 4 ruling, Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that there are no restrictions on dissemination of Form 300A information. Since employees and representatives have access to the information, they have the right to make it public.
The only expectation to this rule is that employers may keep some information confidential under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If injury or illness involves a reproductive organ, sexual assault, mental illness, or other privacy-sensitive incident, employee names remain confidential.
3 More Things You Should Know about 300A
- Visibility: Employers must post form 300A form February 1 to April 30 every year. It must be posted in a highly visible area for everyone in the workplace. Employees also have the right to request a copy at any time.
- Reporting: All medical treatment beyond first aid must be reported to OSHA. Employers also must document significant work-related injuries and illnesses diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional.
- Deadline: The deadline for submitting the form in 2020 was March 2.
The federal ruling for 300A could be a nudge for employers to prioritize compliance with health and safety.
In a June 5 blog post, The Center for Investigative Reporting stated: “Understanding which employers are the most dangerous could motivate more employers to improve safety and provide workers with a deeper understanding of the risks associated with their jobs. The records can also help hold companies accountable.”
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In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
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