Keeping up with OSHA Recordkeeping: Things to Know

Sorting through OSHA recordkeeping rules to decide if an employee’s injury or illness is recordable or non-recordable can be one of the toughest aspects of a safety administrator’s job. Some recordkeeping questions are more difficult than others.

All employers that are covered by the OSH Act are covered by standard 1904. However, most employers do not have to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics informs them in writing. For example, employers with 10 or fewer employees and business establishments in certain industry classifications are partially exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records.

Each February 1st through April, employers must post their 300A in an area generally accessible to employees a summary of the injuries and illnesses recorded the previous year. Also, if requested, copies of the records must be provided to current and former employees, or their representatives. The records must be maintained at the worksite for at least five years.

How does electronic submission work?

OSHA has provided a secure website that offers three options for data submission:

  1. Users can manually enter data into a webform.
  2. Users can upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time.
  3. Users of automated recordkeeping systems, such as OSHA 300 Cloud, will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface).

The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page, where you are able to provide the Agency your 2018 OSHA Form 300A information. The date by which certainemployers are required to submit to OSHA the information from their completed 2018 Form 300A is March 2nd, 2019.

On July 30, 2018 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to eliminate the requirement to electronically submit information from OSHA Form 300(Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and OSHA Form 301(Injury and Illness Incident Report) for establishments with 250 or more employees that are currently required to maintain injury and illness records. So only an employer’s OSHA Form 300A information is required to be submitted.

Things to Remember:

  • Remember, 300 logs must be maintained throughout the year, updated within 7 days of date of injury
  • Even if you are under jurisdiction of a state plan, you must submit electronically. See your state office for any additional specific requirements
  • Remember, even if you are selected / asked to participate in annual BLS survey, you must still submit electronically to OSHA
  • 300 logs and 301 forms do not need to be submitted electronically (keep in mind previous year 300 logs, along with 300A summaries, can be requested at any time by OSHA)
  • Electronic submission of 300A applies to employers with:
  • Submit 2018 300A By March 2nd, 2019 by using the ITA launch page

Common Mistakes

Employers often make mistakes related to their annual injury and illness recordkeeping duty allowing for possible citations and penalties imposed by OSHA. Four common mistakes made by employers are:

  • Not having an appropriate management representative “certify” the 300A form
  • Not posting the 300A form for years in which there were no recordable injuries
  • Not maintaining a copy of the “certified” version of the 300A form
  • Not updating prior years’ 300 Logs based on newly discovered information about previously unrecorded injuries or changes to injuries that were previously recorded.

The requirement of completion, certifying, and posting the 300A annual summary form is separate and apart from the electronic data submission requirement of OSHA’s new Electronic Recordkeeping Rule.  Employers should not confuse submission of injury and illness data to OSHA electronically with the requirement of certifying and posting the 300A annual summary form.

If you have any questions or struggles with your company’s OSHA Recordkeeping, please contact HB NEXT for assistance. HB NEXT also offers OSHA 300 Cloud, for quick and easy electronic recordkeeping.

Handling Unannounced Environmental Regulatory Inspections

Agents from environmental regulatory agencies may show up at your project site without prior notification.  Environmental regulatory agents are trained to their rights and limitations when stepping foot on a job site. It is equally important that workers are educated on what rights they have, and site managers also need to understand how to manage the inspection process.

Should agents from any local (county, city), state, or federal (EPA) governmental agency appear on your project and ask to conduct an inspection or review documents, please do the following:

Be courteous and professional

  • Fully cooperate with all regulatory agents while maintaining your rights to ensure inspections are lawful and to have agents accompanied by appropriate company representatives.  Request that the agents refrain from conducting their inspection until you contact your appropriate company official (Project Manager, NPDES Administrator, etc.) who can be present at the inspection.

Make the Call

  • Call your company representative(s). Inform them that agents from a regulatory agency (mention which one) are on your site requesting an inspection and/or review of documents.
  • The appropriate company representative should make every effort to arrive on the project to accompany the regulatory agency personnel.

Whether walking or waiting, be careful what you say

  • Refrain from answering any specific questions until the Project Manager and/or NPDES Administrator arrives.
  • Most important, do not speculate. Be strictly factual in any information you provide.
  • It is acceptable to say, “I do not know the answer to that question. I will forward it to the appropriate person for a response.”

If the agent won’t wait

  • Request identification from the agent(s). Get their business card(s).
  • Alert the Project Manager and/or the NPDES Administrator to inform them that the inspection is taking place without them present.
  • Ask if they will be conducting a general inspection or are responding to a specific issue.
  • Accompany them and take notes concerning what is inspected and/or reviewed.
  • Write down any questions that they ask.
  • If the agent takes photos, ensure you take similar photos for your own records.
  • Document any search for items (inspection reports, plans, BMPs, specific areas, etc) that could not be located.
  • Do not interfere with the inspection or review.
  • Confirm contacts and procedures for follow-up.

It is important to remember that the regulatory agents are constantly building a case against your company. They probably began before stepping on your job. So, it is extremely important to begin building your case during this process as well. If your company needs assistance when a regulatory agent shows up, please Contact HB NEXT. If your company receives a citation from the EPD, EPA, or has any disputes with an adjacent landowner, HB NEXT has a variety of Legal Services to aid you.

BSQS&P Explained

HB NEXT’s consulting is based on BSQS&P (Budget-Schedule-Quality-Safety-&-People). Our expertise has led us to find and recommend corrective action based on BSQS&P. That is why every decision we make is based on this philosophy.

These next 4 examples will give you a better understanding:

1. Construction Industry

As a new professional getting into the construction industry, all they hear today is Safety is number 1… Safety is number 1… SAFETY IS NUMBER 1! After a while, a person would think that the Budget, Schedule, and Quality are number 2. We don’t want that now, do we?

2. Business Owners

How about the business owner who has to hire a variety of “Business Consultants”?

First, he hires a Budget Consultant who comes in and says, “There is NO WAY you can afford to work overtime on this job.”

Next, in comes the Schedule Consultant who tells the business owner, “You have to work 7 days a week to finish this job!”

After that, the Quality Consultant comes in and says “I don’t care how long it takes. You have to ensure to meet this specification!”

Then, here comes the Safety Consultant…and what do you think they say? “SAFETY is number 1! Who cares about budget or schedule? PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE AT STAKE!”

After all is said and done, here comes the HR Consultant to tell you that “You need to take care of the people.”

We are the BSQS&P Consultant. Rather than looking at one narrow perspective, we tackle issues with knowledge of what will be best as a whole.

3. Legal Issues

HB NEXT has the unique ability to look at legal issues unlike any other consulting company. After a fatality or a citation, everyone always says they “could not get the individual to do it safely”.

The opposing attorney says:

“How did you get them to meet your budget and cost? What did you do when you found a contractor working without an approved change order? You stopped the work!

What if you found them working in the wrong flow or the wrong sequence, not meeting your schedule? You stopped the work!

What did you do if you found them painting the wall the wrong color or using the wrong material, not meeting quality standards? You stopped the work!

But you could not get them to do it safely?! NO, you could have used the same methods for BSQ to get Safety completed.”

4. Field Supervisors

Walk up to any Field Supervisor and ask them, “Who is in charge of this job?” He will proudly pat his hand on his chest and say, “I am. This is my job.”

However, when the Manager / Owner says…

…“I need to talk to you about a budget problem”
Supervisor says: “I did not bid or price it!”

…“I need to talk with you about a Schedule problem”
Supervisor says: “I didn’t say I could get it done in that time frame!”

…“I need to talk with you about a Quality problem”
Supervisor says: “I can’t see it from my house!”

…“I need to talk with you about a Safety problem”
Supervisor says: “That’s the Safety Coordinator’s Job!”

…“I need to talk with you about a Personnel problem”
Supervisor says: “That is the Human Resources job!”

At this point, what is left to be, “in charge” of?  The water barrel?

NO… you are in charge of BSQS&P!

HB NEXT gets it… and that is why we base every decision, recommendation, and solution around the philosophy of BSQS&P.

Meeting the Ongoing Need for Soft Skills Training in Construction

Why managerial power and authority are no longer enough to guarantee safety and drive productivity in today’s workforce

There was a time -in the not-so-distant past- when fire-breathers ruled the landscape of professional business.

For decades, supervisory and management personnel for various industries have been hired on the basis of their (often fierce) ability to motivate workers, by any means necessary, to accomplish the financial objectives and goals of a business. In fact, this type of leadership has been glorified, giving life and longevity to sayings of which you’re likely familiar:

“My way or the highway”, “take it or leave it”, or, “there are other fish in the sea”, are a few that come to mind, implying that in most situations, an employee is left with little or no choice but to accept the decision-making of their superiors; or, suffer the risk of potential job loss. Now, some credence can be lent to this philosophy of ultimatum, as, there are (some) circumstances in business in which argument or even polite disagreement with the status quo is simply not allowed.

Take safety around electrical devices as an example:

Have you ever considered why most electrical appliances are manufactured with warning labels that stress the importance of users never operating the appliance either in or near water? The science and dangers of electrical conductivity most certainly predate the advent of modern technology; so, naturally, we don’t wish to be constantly reminded of the things we already know. Plenty of people have done it without incident, so as long as you’re really careful, it’s perfectly safe to blow-dry your hair while listening to the radio in the bathtub, right? Manufacturers don’t affix warning labels to potentially dangerous products just because it’s a universally-accepted ‘best practice’. They do it, because if they fail to, people may get hurt or even lose their lives. Rightfully so, it’s not a business decision that’s open for debate.

No business is exempt from the rigors of managing safety, risk, budgets, schedules, and personnel; and, the construction industry has never been an exception to this. So, out of sheer necessity to prevent injuries and save lives, the industry was forced to adopt an often inflexible, no-nonsense approach to safety. Over time, this need manifested into generations of ‘fire-breathing’ project managers and superintendents being hired to run construction projects, backed by the wholehearted support of company owners, who, for many years in this industry, appeared to value profit over people.

As the old Bob Dylan song goes, ‘the times they are a-changing’. Acceptable workplace conditions have also changed; and, adaptability to these changes is becoming more important than ever. Soft skills are emerging to the forefront of leadership training, as the days of ‘my way or the highway’ -while still visible in the rearview mirror- are slowly becoming a remnant of the past. With increases in job injuries and fatalities, workplace violence, discrimination lawsuits and employee turnover, companies are having to endorse new methods for engaging, motivating, and retaining their valuable employees. Companies in the construction industry have begun to embrace the reality that while profits will always be a high priority, the costs and operational impacts associated with injuries, fatalities, civil suits and turnover can quickly erase those profits, while simultaneously threatening a company’s reputation and viability.

Soft skills such as interviewing methods, diversity and inclusion training, and conflict resolution techniques are helping immensely in the workplace to bridge a communication gap that historically, has been the primary responsibility of a company’s Human Resources personnel. For companies that do not have full-fledged HR departments, however, soft skills training for both employees and managers alike is becoming an indispensable component of policy administration and adherence, (effective) performance management, and harmonious workplace relations. In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, the almighty dollar continues to drive budgets and schedules.

However, this does not mean that safety takes a backseat to productivity.  

While there will always be appropriate places and times in business for more draconian styles of leadership, the companies who are making the effort to integrate this training into their employee development practices, over time, will enjoy more of the fruits of their labor (AKA – profits) as compared to the companies who ignore the importance and necessity of soft skills. Increased work demands place a premium on employee productivity; and, as such, companies have less time to address all employee concerns through a Human Resources team. Soft skills are affording companies greater freedom, latitude, and flexibility with their human resource efforts, while empowering their leaders to more effectively resolve issues before they snowball into larger (and, usually, more expensive) problems.

Keep in mind, that the cost of employee development is an ongoing expenditure. You can decide to spend money on the front end with training; or, you can spend it on the back end replacing employees, negotiating citations, legal fees, or worse. So, the inevitable choice lies with you. Will you choose the iron fist, or the gentle hand? Will you empower your leaders to breathe fire, or will you teach them to extinguish flames before they spread? Your profits will likely tell the tale-

Construction Ready – Then and Now

In the summer of 2014, the workforce development program we have come to know as Construction Ready, began as a vision of The Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank to revitalize communities in the Westside of Atlanta by creating career opportunities for some of the City’s disadvantaged residents. The vehicle through which this vision would be initially achieved, was construction of the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Through a long-term relationship with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), HB NEXT was called upon to be the training partner for this joint venture, providing construction industry-recognized credentialing and certifications for the program’s selected participants. Through funding provided by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Mr. Blank’s generosity and unwavering commitment to improving the Westside communities, and, the City of Atlanta, was evident from the outset of this voyage.

Mr. Blank’s generosity, however, did not come without (some) expectations.

Construction Ready’s first location at Westside Works -which was established at the former E.R. Carter Elementary School on Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard in Atlanta- was challenged to graduate and place (100) trainees into full-time careers in construction.

This was a daunting challenge, indeed.

Like any project with lofty goals, there were doubts that this could everbe accomplished. Plenty of naysayers, before recognizing the impact that was quietly being made in this community, were quick to offer their opinions on the matter.

Well, as it turns out, the naysayers and doubters were sadly misinformed.

In expeditious fashion, Westside Works graduated and placed those 100 trainees into full-time employment in the construction industry. In fact, the success and evolution of the Westside Works program was so impressive, that it garnered the excitement of the Build Cobb Initiative in Cobb County, who brought the same training program to Smyrna, GA, to support construction of the Atlanta Braves’ new home, SunTrust Park.

Additionally, it resulted in the Blank Foundation’s continued interest in the program.

Westside Works just celebrated its 25thgroup of graduates this summer. Build Cobb just graduated their 16th.

As the Westside Works and Build Cobb locations continued their success with the Construction Ready program, two additional locations launched in in the Atlanta area, in 2016 and 2017, respectively:

The Center for Working Families, Inc, in the Georgia Hill community near Turner Field now known as Georgia State Stadium; and, Aerotropolis, near East Point, GA.

Fast forward to 2018, Construction Ready now has 4 locations actively operating in the Atlanta area, with additional locations in planning for 2019 and beyond. To date, the program has graduated (through all 4 locations) a total of 815trainees, with 776of them being hired into full-time jobs with several Atlanta-area construction companies. This program is proud to boast an ongoing job placement rate of over 95%. What’s more impressive, is that over 70% of the graduates from the Construction Ready program have maintained their positions with these companies for a year or better.

We are excited to be a part of this powerful and rewarding program; and, are looking forward to building towards the program’s continued success!

Scaffold Safety

Over our 20 years in business, HB NEXT has seen almost everything! We have seen that most construction workers are familiar with scaffolds, but a majority of workers are unfamiliar with the safety inspection that needs to be performed before working on scaffolds.  Below, you will find a comprehensive list of inspection practices and ‘must knows’ for using scaffolds.

Supported Scaffolds:

  • Inspection by competent person is required before each shift or any occurrence which could affect scaffold structural integrity.
  • Any part of damaged or weakened scaffold shall be repaired, replaced, or removed from service until repaired.
  • Legs, posts, frames, uprights shall rest on baseplates and mudsills (or other adequate firm foundation). Footings shall be level, sound, rigid and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold without settling or displacement.
  • Scaffolds and components shall not be loaded in excess of maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.
  • If scaffold platforms are more than 2ft above or below a point of access, ladders, walkways, integral prefabricated access frames, personnel hoist, etc. shall be used.Crossbraces shall not be used as access.
  • Fall protection will be provided for employees at 10 ft or more.
  • Falling object protection for employees will be provided by the use of hardhats, as well as toeboards, screens, barricades, or canopies. You must wear hardhats 100% of the time.
  • Guys, ties, and braces shall be installed per manufacturer recommendation when scaffold reaches a 4:1 height to base width ratio, and must be installed at least at each end with a maximum interval of 30’.
  • Distance from power lines per OSHA standards (based on insulated/non-insulated lines and voltage) must be adhered to (minimum 10’ clearance).
  • Working on scaffolds in storms or high winds is prohibited unless determined safe by a competent person. Working on scaffolds covered in snow, ice, or other slippery material is prohibited except to remove.
  • Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall be plumb and braced to prevent swaying and displacement. Where uplift can occur, the frames shall be locked together vertically by pins or equivalent means.
  • Unstable objects shall not be used to support scaffolds or platform units.

Suspension Scaffolds:

  • Must be inspected by competent person prior to shift. Defective components shall be replaced.
  • Capacity must be its own weight plus 4 times maximum intended load.
  • Suspension rope must support 6 times maximum intended load when scaffold operated at rated load of hoist or 2 times rated load.
  • Fall protection will consist of PFAS and guardrails.
  • PFAS secured to separate anchorage than platform to create an independent life line.
  • Direct connections must support 4 times tipping point of scaffold at rated load or 1.5 times tipping moment at stall load of hoist whichever is greater.
  • Counterweights cannot be of flowable material and must be secured in place during use.
  • Tiebacks shall be equivalent in strength to the suspension ropes.
  • Tiebacks shall be secured to a structurally sound anchorage on the building or structure.

Aerial lifts:

  • Must meet ANSI requirements
  • Lift controls tested prior to use each day.
  • Only authorized personnel may operate.
  • Employees must stand firmly on floor of basket.
  • Harness and lanyard shall be attached to basket when working from aerial lift.


At HB NEXT, safety is our priority, and scaffolds are no exception.  Keep your personnel safe on the jobsite by creating a Safety Program or customized training program for your company.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact HB NEXT.

Timing is Critical When Confronting the Possibility of an OSHA Citation

Dealing with OSHA can be extremely taxing on you and your company if you do not address citations in a timely manner. It is extremely important to understand what steps you need to take and the timeframe that you have for action.  HB NEXT’s legal counsel, Andrew Gross, discusses all the necessary steps companies need to take when confronting the possibility of an OSHA citation.

“OSHA Citations must be addressed as soon as received in order to determine and engage effective defense preparations. If you’ve done your homework, prepared properly, and assembled supporting records, OSHA can and will withdraw the Citation at the Informal Conference in the Area Office that issued the Citation. If withdrawn, there won’t be any need to file a Contest and incur the additional expense and risk of litigation.

Citations must be resolved by settlement or contested in writing within 15 business days of receipt. In states where OSHA standards are enforced by a state agency, there are similar short timetables. These deadlines are absolute and can almost never be modified.

Better still, don’t wait for a citation to appear in the mail. When you learn that OSHA has inspected your jobsite, begin your own investigation immediately. Promptly determine whether the facts support a citation, and if so, whether you may have a valid defense. The time to get the facts is while they are still fresh in everyone’s mind. HB NEXT can help assess your situation and assist in planning an appropriate defense in anticipation of a citation.

Don’t forget to take immediate corrective and enforcement action, if indeed you determine that employees were exposed to a hazard. Employees or subcontractors who violated Company rules should be disciplined in accordance with Company discipline policies. If all else fails and there is no likely defense, proactive remediation and enforcement of your safety policy shows good faith and can reduce the penalty.”

If you have any further questions or concerns about OSHA citations, please contact HB NEXT! We have a team of professionals that can assist with all of your legal needs.

Safe & Sound Week: Show Your Commitment to Safety

HB NEXT is proud to take part in Safe & Sound week!  We encourage everyone in our industry to participate in this week of safety awareness.

Safe and Sound week is a cross country awareness campaign to facilitate the understanding of the “Value of Safety and Health Programs”. These health programs could include, but are not limited to: worker participation, management leadership, and systematic approach to fixing hazards in the work environment.

We participate in this week of awareness for one definitive philosophy: Safe Workplaces are Sound Businesses. Being proactive when it comes to safety is what sets successful businesses apart from failing ones. Safety and Health Programs can help identify hazards before the incident happens. Companies who take part can help save employees from injury or illness.

HB NEXT encourages everyone to visit the OSHA Website on Safe and Sound week to learn more about the initiative.

Contact HB NEXT if you need assistance creating a Safety Program or a customized Training program for your company.

From all of us at HB NEXT be safe!

GA NPDES Electronic Permit Submittal Requirements

The new Georgia NPDES General Construction Permits for Storm Water Discharge will become effective August 1, 2018.  While much of the permit remains the same, there are some important and major changes that will occur.  The one new requirement that will affect all permittees is the electronic submittal of all permits.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has developed an online portal for submitting NPDES permits (Notice of Intents, Notice of Terminations, and Storm Water Sampling Reports) to comply with the Federal EPA NPDES construction permit. The site can be found by  CLICKING HERE.

How does this affect you? All permittees will have to register with GEOS and set up and account as a Responsible Official (RO). This is regardless if you actually do the NPDES permit filing. If you contract with a consultant to the filing on your behalf, you can still use a consultant (or preparer) to do your filing. However, you will have to initiate the filing and notify your preparer that there is a permit ready to be completed and filed.

Not only does the GEOS system fulfill the EPA requirements, but also it makes filing permits faster and easier (no more certified mail, return receipts). Additionally, it also creates an online portal to search and find previously filed permits.

For more information, you can visit the following links:

Video tutorial: CLICK HERE

How to set up an Responsible Officer (RO) account: CLICK HERE

How to File an NOI: CLICK HERE


If you have further questions about permit filing or need assistance with NPDES / SWPPP Inspections, please call us or Contact Us through our website.

Tips on Construction Training Programs for a Skilled Workforce

By: Guest Contributor – “Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm” – 

A recent survey from the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that nearly 80 percent of construction businesses have a hard time finding qualified skilled labor. With the existing
skills gap between labor job openings and the talent needed to fill them, companies and general contractors often find themselves with two options, hire under-qualified workers or require their skilled workers to work longer hours. It goes without saying, both options can have serious repercussions, especially when it comes to job site safety.

While an emphasis on workforce development aims to bridge the talent gap, there are three ways construction companies can take action now to further develop their skilled workforce and competent employees.

Implement Personalized Training and Frequent Assessments to Improve Safety

Although you need to take continuous training as a serious issue, keep in mind that not all workers will be at the same level. This is the primary reason why you should consider personalized training programs and regular assessments that will help you understand and assess individual strengths and weaknesses. The primary objective of personalized training is to help each employee work on their weaknesses so that at the end of the process you have a highly productive and united team of employees. Additionally, such training will enhance safety at the construction site.

Provide Apprenticeship

Providing apprenticeships opportunities is a good way to train to prospective construction workers while getting labor from those individuals who are dedicated to learning. These programs are mostly used in crafts to provide the apprentice with more knowledge about career selections. Also, these programs help in teaching technical skills, ethics, and leadership to construction workers and can be used to assess the worker’s overall skill level.

Strive to Create Mutually Beneficial Relationships

This means that your training programs should aim to promote both the worker and the employer. Well thought out training programs will allow your construction workers to fit well in their work environment and become innovative while also reducing chances of an on-the-job accident that can cost time and money. They will strive to create a safe working environment that is challenging but achievable which will make them feel part of the company.

This creates job satisfaction which will make your construction workers comfortable which will make them stick around longer. Employers will also learn how to accomplish their tasks without committing mistakes and will know how to deal with the challenge of construction safety issues.