OSHA to Accept Electronically Submitted Injury and Illness Data in August

July 26, 2017

OSHA will launch on August 1, 2017, the Injury Tracking Application (ITA). The Web-based form allows employers to electronically submit required injury and illness data from their completed 2016 OSHA Form 300A. The application will be accessible from the ITA webpage.

Last month, OSHA published a notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the deadline for submitting 2016 Form 300A to December 1, 2017, to allow affected entities sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the electronic reporting system, and to provide the new administration an opportunity to review the new electronic reporting requirements prior to their implementation. 

The data submission process involves four steps: 1) Creating an establishment; 2) adding 300A summary data; 3) submitting data to OSHA; and 4) reviewing the confirmation email. The secure website offers three options for data submission. One option will enable users to manually enter data into a web form. Another option will give users the ability to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. A third option will allow users of automated recordkeeping systems to transmit data electronically via an application programming interface.

The ITA webpage also includes information on reporting requirements, a list of frequently asked questions and a link to request assistance with completing the form. 

Safety Failures Led to the Death of 3 Workers in Manhole Containing Lethal Gases

OSHA has cited a South Florida utility company and related contracting company after the agency’s investigation into the deaths of three workers who succumbed to toxic gases in a manhole on January 16, 2017. 

A 34-year-old pipe layer entered the manhole—a confined space—and quickly became unresponsive. A 49-year-old laborer entered the hole and attempted to rescue the first employee. After the second employee also became unresponsive, a 24-year-old equipment operator followed to help his fallen coworkers. All three men died. Post-incident atmospheric testing in the manhole revealed lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. Two other employees and a volunteer firefighter were also exposed to the toxic gases in the manhole during rescue attempts but survived.

OSHA investigators cited Douglas N. Higgins, Inc., and its related contracting company, McKenna Contracting, LLC, with 10 serious violations totaling $119,507, in penalties. The incident-related serious violations are for failing to purge or ventilate the confined space before entry, exposing the workers to an asphyxiation hazard, and not providing necessary rescue and emergency equipment for employees that were overcome inside a permit-required confined space.

In addition, OSHA issued serious citations to Higgins and McKenna Contracting for failing to:

  • Develop and implement a written hazard communication program for a worksite in which employees were exposed to dangerous chemicals and gases
  • Use a calibrated direct-reading device to test for toxic gases, creating an asphyxiation hazard
  • Create and document the confined space entry permit
  • Provide training to employees in the safe performance of their assigned duties in permit-required confined spaces
  • Provide a guardrail around the manhole opening, exposing employees to a fall hazard

“The hazards of working in manholes are well established, but there are ways to make it safe,” said Condell Eastmond, the OSHA area director in Fort Lauderdale. “Three employees needlessly lost their lives and others were injured due to their employer’s failure to follow safe work practices.”

Founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, D.N. Higgins expanded in 1989 with the opening of its Naples office. The company specializes in underground installations of mechanical systems, pump stations, storm water drainage systems and municipal infrastructure. McKenna Contracting, LLC, was formed in 2012 and is a related company that provides contract administration and labor to Higgins’ jobsites in Florida.

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