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Are you ready for some regulatory updates? OSHA has been incredibly busy this year reviewing proposed regulatory changes and updating requirements for employers. Now’s the time to begin reviewing what’s in store to see how these changes may affect your operational processes, reporting, and recordkeeping compliance.

Workplace injury and illness reporting

OSHA has finalized updates to electronic reporting requirements following a review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The changes take effect on January 1, 2024, and will require the following:

  • Establishments with 20 to 249 employees must electronically submit the 300A annual summary if the location’s North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code is listed in the new Appendix A. NOTE: The industry list didn’t change; however, OSHA did update from the 2012 to the 2017 NAICS codes.
  • Establishments with 100 or more employees must electronically file the 300 log, 301 forms, and 300A if the location’s NAICS code is listed in the new Appendix B.
  • Establishments with 250 or more employees must electronically submit the 300A if the location’s NAICS code is listed in the new Appendix A.

As a reminder, OSHA defines an establishment as a single physical location. And employers with multiple establishments may have different obligations for each location.

Interested in learning more about electronic reporting updates? Read more in our article, "OSHA's electronic reporting changes likely in effect by January 1."

Hazard Communication standard

OSHA is proposing amendments to the Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) implemented in 2012. The updates are intended to maintain conformity with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) and align certain provisions with U.S. and Canadian agencies.

The proposed updates are also intended to address specific issues that have arisen since OSHA’s last updated requirements without lowering overall protections for workers. The release of a Final Rule was anticipated for Spring 2023, so it’s expected at any time.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has shown that injury and illness rates for warehousing establishments are consistently significantly higher than for other establishments. In response, OSHA has embraced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) targeting warehousing and distribution center operations, mail/postal processing and distribution centers, parcel delivery/courier services, and certain high-injury-rate retail establishments.

The three-year NEP took effect on July 13, 2023, with inspections set to begin after a 90-day outreach period. Inspections under the new NEP focus on:

  • Fire protection and means of egress,
  • Powered industrial vehicle operations,
  • Walking-working surfaces,
  • Material handling/storage, and
  • Any additional hazards that may be present, such as heat or ergonomic concerns.

These NEP inspections are intended to be comprehensive, with OSHA reserving the right to expand the focus when evidence demonstrates additional violations may exist in other areas.

PPE in construction

OSHA has published its proposed rule for personal protective equipment (PPE) in construction. The proposed update would require that PPE fit each employee properly to ensure protection from workplace hazards. This change would also align OSHA’s PPE standard for construction with its general industry and maritime standards.

OSHA recognizes that PPE is not one-size-fits-all and that standard-sized PPE may not fit well enough to protect all workers. Ill-fitting PPE, especially for smaller construction workers or females, can present additional safety hazards or discourage frustrated employees from using it when required.

Employer comments are welcomed through September 18, 2023. Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov by searching for docket “OSHA-2019-0003.”

Learn more about this OMB process from our article, "Construction PPE rule leaves OMB."

Occupational exposure to COVID-19 in healthcare

As much as we’d like to see COVID-19 in our rear view mirror, OSHA recognizes the danger healthcare workers still face and understands measures are still needed to maintain worker protection. The agency reopened the 2021 emergency temporary standard (ETS) to better align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations.

The new rule requires employers to continue implementing transmission reduction controls, such as patient screening, PPE use, and engineering controls (e.g., ventilation or barriers). Other changes being discussed include:

  • Removing scope exemptions,
  • Limiting coverage of construction activities within healthcare,
  • Identifying vaccination recommendations and exemptions,
  • Implementing COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions, and
  • Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels.

A final standard will protect healthcare workers from the ever-evolving risks presented by COVID-19. The new standard is in the final rule stages and is expected to be released before the year’s end.

Keys to remember

New and modified OSHA regulations are intended to improve workplace safety for everyone. Employers can focus on pending regulatory changes to better position themselves for compliance. Knowing what’s coming helps employers proactively update programs or equipment and train employees on changes that affect their safety and health.