One of the most challenging parts about owning a franchise is keeping up with regulations. Being an employer comes with a lengthy list of requirements, one of which is reporting and tracking workplace injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed to make workplaces safer. Now, they’ve come up with a new regulation to publicly disclose any injuries and illnesses reported by employees. This new regulation could impact your franchise and require you to submit a new form online each year.
The New Safety Regulation
Employers have always been required to submit information about workplace injuries. That’s nothing new. What is new is how the information is submitted.
Now, OSHA requires employers to take an extra step when submitting information about injuries and illnesses in the workplace. Now, each submission must be done electronically. Then, these electronic submissions will be made accessible online through the OSHA website to the general public.
The Risk of the New Regulation
One of OSHA’s greatest worries about this new regulation is that some employers will shy away from wanting their workplace injuries and illnesses so public. There’s concern that in these cases, employers will discourage employees from reporting their injuries and illnesses.
Discouraging the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses is prohibited but OSHA goes an extra step to ensure employers don’t stand in the way of employees sharing details about their health. Employers must make it clear to each employee that there will be zero retaliation if they report their injuries. This is a step beyond the previous rule that stated employers could not retaliate against any employee for reporting an injury or illness.
The Goal of the New Regulation
OSHA’s primary goal with this new regulation is to encourage employers to promote safety. By publicizing the information, OSHA enables anyone interested (including outside unions and organizations) to get a picture of the safety of each franchise’s work environment.
The New OSHA Regulation Affects Franchises of All Sizes
The ruling was created in May 2016 but it does not go into effect until January 1, 2017. Then, any business with over 250 employees must submit their 2016 workplace injury recap using Form 300A online by July 1, 2017.
As a franchise owner, you are no stranger to new franchising rules and regulations, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that even if a franchise employs fewer than 250 people, you could still be required to file an online report. No franchise is too big or too small for this rule. OSHA breaks down who must file online based on the number of employees or industry.
The new rule distinguishes a few industries as high-risk. These industries include but are not limited to:
Automotive & Tire
Consumer Goods Rental Stores
Some Healthcare Providers
Elderly Service Care Providers
Dry-Cleaning and Laundry Services
To learn more about whether or not your franchise (or the franchise you’re considering buying) needs to submit Form 300A each year and publicly disclose any workplace injuries or illnesses online, visit www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.