It’s August 1, 2017 and hot outside. If you’re not sweating from the heat but instead from the unknown of electronically submitting your organizations record keeping data through OSHA’s just released Injury Tracking Applications (ITA), you’re not alone.
We’ve got good news, don’t worry. The new December 1 deadline is 119 days away but you won’t need all that time. Our Protect It development team has been busy testing the early release through access to the ITA test site and we’ve found a few items you should lookout for.
First, if you’re relying on calling your local OSHA office or any OSHA office for support and you’re fearfully envisioning waiting in line at the Post Office for service, don’t worry it should be a better experience but, unfortunately not much better. We attempted to get some questions answered about the ITA through three different channels. First we made a call to the national OSHA 800 # and as you can expect, that went nowhere. We were transferred to a Dallas regional office and left a message and still waiting for a return call. Next we opened a support ticket through OSHA and not only did we not get a reply that our ticket was received, we’ve not had a response at all. Finally, we went old school and drove to a local OSHA office and waited in line for a live person. The individual was very nice but we didn’t gain any technical knowledge to help our journey.
After just rolling up our sleeves and digging in, here is what we have found:
Where to Start
First you’ll need to create a new account at the OSHA Reporting Website by clicking the Launch ITA button as shown with the arrow below.
Next click the create an account as shown below.
After you’ve created your account and logged into the ITA home page you’re ready to create one or multiple establishments and upload your 300A form for 2016. Remember the deadline is December 1, 2017.
Submitting Your Data
You have three ways to upload your date.
- Manually on the ITA site
- Upload a CSV file for one or multiple establishments
- API access through an Automated Recordkeeping System like our Protect It EHS Software
For this post we’ll focus on the first two submission methods but note** YOU WILL WANT TO USE THE THIRD CHOICE (API Access) in the long run and we’ll explain why toward the end of this post.
If you choose Manual Submission, you’ll first need to create and save each establishment. Once an establishment is saved you can then submit OSHA 300A data.
Under your list of establishment names, a 300A Status column is displayed to keep track of the submission status for each. If a 300A has successfully uploaded you’ll see Submitted for that establishment.
The CSV upload option is better than manually entering your 300A but we’ve found that the CSV data must be formatted correctly or you can run into problems. Multiple establishments can be uploaded in one CSV file and a significant time saver for larger organizations.
Watch Out For…
All in all the CSV upload went smoothly but if you know about a few items to sidestep, you’ll save a lot time.
Successfully Uploaded – Your Not Done Yet
When you successfully upload your file a helpful onscreen message displays that your were successful. That message only means you were successful with uploading the data but not that OSHA accepted and submitted your 300A form. OSHA must process the data and if any errors are found, communicate back to the user in an email.
Logout and Login Again
We successfully uploaded our test CSV file and received both the onscreen confirmation and an email confirming our success. What we found that is that the results of the successful upload were not displayed until we logout and then log back into the system. After not seeing our results and uploading the file again multiple times, we learned our lesson.
Confirm Formatting Before Uploading
Make sure your CSV file is formatted correctly. For example the “State” field must be a two character TX instead of Texas. The average number of employees must be a whole number and can’t contain a decimal. The benefit of a CSV file in obvious time saver but only if your data is correctly formatted.
API Is The Best
We said earlier that transmitting data electronically via an API (application programming interface) through an automated recordkeeping systems is the best option. Our Protect It EHS Software connects directly to the Injury Tracking System through a secure API token that is attached only to your ITA account. By connecting directly to ITA and making a secure handshake with uploaded data any confirmation or failures are delivered in real time.
One other important recommendation is to take advantage of an automated recordkeeping system to manage your organizations incidents as they happen instead of trying to catch up with recording injuries and illnesses after they occurred. This will be even more important in 2018 when all 300, 300A and 301 forms are required to be reported through the ITA. You’ll be glad you did and your safety culture will benefit.