Injury & Illness Records to OSHA: Injury Tracking Application (ITA)
Many standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explicitly require the employer to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their jobs.
Other OSHA standards make it the employer’s responsibility to limit certain job assignments to employees who are “certified,” “competent,” or “qualified” meaning that they have had special previous training, inside or outside of the workplace.
These requirements reflect OSHA’s belief that training is an essential part of every employer’s safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. On August 1, 2017, OSHA launched its web portal to accept submission of record keeping forms required by the final rule, “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.”
OSHA’s rulemaking requirement will “improve safety for workers across the country” according to their website, and “more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well.”
Is Your Cannabis Business Exempt from OSHA? Not Likely…
Most employers are required to comply with OSHA regulations, including those in the cannabis industry. Adhering to OSHA is still the law, even if the sale of marijuana is not yet federally sanctioned and this misunderstanding has cost many cannabis businesses significant revenue due to unnecessary fines.
OSHA is holding owners themselves for employee concerns and complaints so there’s been an increase in disgruntled employees in the cannabis industry.
As employees are being let go for legitimate concerns, they sometimes try and obtain additional compensation by filing a complaint, but once received OSHA must investigate.
What Does the Rule Require?
Under this new rule, which took effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms.
Some of the data submitted to OSHA will also be posted on the OSHA website, they believe that “…public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public.”
OSHA has provided a secure website that offers three (3) options for data submission.
- Manually enter data into a web form.
- Upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.
- Transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface).
OSHA State Plan states must adopt requirements that are substantially identical to the requirements of this rule within six (6) months after publication of this final rule. OSHA has provided an FAQ and “job aids” to submit relevant information to OSHA.
In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently released their “Guide to Worker Safety and Health in the Marijuana Industry”, which includes guidance on following Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) Retail Marijuana Code and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
What Do Cannabis Employers Do To Avoid OSHA Fines?
Employers should train and make changes now to create sustainable programs as opposed to waiting for a call, fine or citation from OSHA. Once OSHA contacts you, you’re in a scramble to abate, as well as figure out how to pay some hefty fines to the “door is open” – so the same business can find themselves under increased scrutiny.
Each new or repeat violation not only at that specific location, but each sister building as well can run up to $70,000. Protect your employees and your investment by completing OSHA certificate courses that are relevant and now 100% applicable to the cannabis industry.
Green CulturED covers important health and safety topics, like ergonomics, working surfaces, slips/trips/falls, and many others. Suitable for entry-level workers, as well as experienced supervisors, our OSHA general industry course empowers employees to identify hazards and take the necessary steps to prevent them.
By defining procedural standards and reinforcing safety policies, your employees work in a safer environment. Imagine being able to provide employees with the best training possible – without any headaches and hassles – that’s exactly what our company, Green CulturED does for businesses in the cannabis industry today.
Let us know what you think.