As we approach the end of January, I would like to remind our members that the OSHA 300A Form posting deadline is approaching. The OSHA Record Keeping Rule requires employers keep records of all work related injuries and illnesses. This includes the OSHA 300, 300A and 301 forms that employers must have on file. If you do not already have a copy of this form it can be accessed through this link OSHA Recordkeeping Forms and Instructions. The 300A Summary of Injuries and Illnesses is the only form that must be posted from Feb. 1 to April 30 of each year. The 300A must be posted in a common area where notices to employees would normally be posted. Be sure to post this form beginning February 1, 2022.
It is very important that the OSHA 300A Summary be filled out completely and correctly. In the case that there were no work-related accidents to report, the form must be filled out with zeros in each blank. Often the establishment information is also overlooked and or just not signed. One area of the establishment information that creates some confusion is the area asking about average number of employees and total hours worked. The average number of employees is simply the total number of paychecks written divided by the number of pay periods. This should include all full-time, part-time, temporary, migrant, salaried, and hourly employees.
The other form found at the link above is the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses. This is a log containing information about every work-related death and almost every work-related injury or illness that involves loss of consciousness, restricted work activity or job transfer, days away from work, and/or medical treatment beyond first aid. You must consider an injury or illness to be work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness. It is also important to completely fill out the OSHA 300 form. All columns must be totaled even if you had no accident to reports there must be a zero for a total. The information from the OSHA 300 form is used to complete the OSHA 300A form.
This is also a good time to enter your 2021 injury and illness data on the OSHA Web Portal. Any employer with 20 or more employees at any time during the calendar year is required to enter this data electronically. The data entered electronically is essentially the same data contained in the OSHA 300A form. The deadline for electronic submission is March 2, 2022. To access the electronic submission portal simply click this link OSHA Electronic Submission Page
Hopefully, this article will serve as a reminder of what must be reported and posted to be in compliance with OSHA’s Recordkeeping Standard. If OSHA comes to your facility, they will ask to see these forms going back for a period of 5 years. It is important to have the files and data on hand and easily accessible. More information regarding OSHA Recordkeeping can be accessed through OSHA Recordkeeping Rule as well as the 2020 Southeastern Cotton Ginners Safety Reference Manual.
A week ago, January 10, 2022, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor posted a press release stating that 80 percent of gins investigated owed back wages or penalties for non-compliance with Labor Laws. Articles citing this press release have been published in newspapers and trade publications, large and small.
On January 12, we released the statement below. It is never any of our members intent to break the rules. Labor laws and rules governing agricultural labor are complex and often hard to understand. We are working with the Wage and Hour division and others on improving compliance among our members. Please give us a call if you have any questions regarding our statement.
The Following is from Harrison Ashley at the National Cotton Ginners. We encourage ALL gins to participate in this survey to drive the accuracy of the NCC planting intentions forward. Thanks for you help in this.
Gins are in constant contact with their producers and generally have a good idea as to the next season’s planting prospects. The survey should include both upland and extra-long staple cotton plantings. The gin survey will be used to supplement producer survey data and help the National Cotton Council increase survey accuracy. Please complete the survey by Monday, January 17. If you report for more than 1 gin, please use a separate survey for each gin.
The acreage survey, conducted each year to aid with industry planning and policy deliberations, provides the basis for the economic outlook presented to delegates during the NCC Annual Meeting in February.
Late Friday afternoon a three judge panel in the Sixth Circuit lifted the stay on the Biden Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The ETS has a number of ongoing law suits and a Federal appeals court placed a stay on the rule before it even got going. Now the Sixth Circuit has lifted that stay and the rule may proceed.
For review, this vaccine mandate only applies to employers with 100 or more employees company wide. OSHA has said it will use it’s enforcement discretion for this rule. OSHA will begin enforcing the rule on January 10 with a February 9 deadline for the vaccine or test requirements.
More will follow after we have a chance to digest this ruling. This is likely not the end of this and we will continue to see how this unfolds. If you have or have had more than 100 employees since November 5 (original date of rule) you will need to move forward with your compliance activities.
This past week, the Department of Labor has published the new Adverse Effect Wage Rate for 2022. The new wages actually start on December 29 and until new AEWR’s are published next year. This means that if you are using H-2A labor, Starting December 29, 2021 you will need to pay them and US workers in corresponding employment the NEW AEWR. These rates are set by state or groups of states.
2022 AEWR (Dec 29, 2021)
We’re also monitoring potential changes that the DoL has recently published as a proposed rule. The proposed rule has the potential to significantly affect the H-2A wages in many industries. We’re not clear on exactly how the proposed changes will affect gins that use the H-2A program. We will update as things firm up.
It is with a heavy heard that I must post yet another notification of the passing of one of our members. Leo Phillips co-owner of the Cochran Gin and Oil Mill passed away on Sunday. His funeral will be later today. Leo didn’t come to many meetings but he frequently called with questions on things we published or issues they had dealings with. We had many discussions on the development of the Association and the ‘old times’. He was a character and I will miss our calls.