OSHA Recordkeeping Rule’s Deadline Suspended

by Kacey Larsen

The Labor Department has suspended the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rule requiring that companies electronically report their injury and illness records. While the rule took effect Jan. 1 and employers were obligated to send in their summary data by July 1, OSHA has not launched the website for companies to submit the required information. The OSHA website says it “is not accepting submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017, date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically.” At this time, no new date/deadline has been proposed.

The final rule to “improve tracking of workplace injuries and illness” requires that establishments with 20-249 in high-risk industries—including construction—must submit recorded onsite injury and illness data. Analysis of the data, OSHA expresses, will enable them “to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently.” The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness—requiring employers inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation.

Back in January, The National Association of Home Builders, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Homebuilders Association, the State Chamber of Oklahoma and three poultry associations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA related to the final recordkeeping rule. The lawsuit claims the rule overreaches and violates businesses’ rights under the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It also argues that the information’s publication—OSHA plans to post some of the reported data to its website as a type of public disclosure—won’t actually impact workplace safety or health, but instead could create “reputational harm,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the NAHB and a homebuilder and developer from Bloomington, Illinois.

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