OSHA pushes to extend compliance date of electronic recordkeeping rule to Dec. 1
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed delaying until Dec. 1 the employer filing requirement under its new electronic recordkeeping rule.
- The agency said the new compliance date for the "Improve Tracking of Workplace injuries and Illnesses" provision of the Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and illnesses regulation will allow employers extra time to review it. OSHA is also opening up a public comment period.
- In May, OSHA said it would push back the July 1 deadline but did not specify how long the extension would be until Tuesday.
Some industry groups, including the National Association of Home Builders, filed a lawsuit earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma questioning the constitutionality of the rule. The NAHB and others asserted that requiring employers to submit injury and illness logs online and then making that information available to the public violates employers' First and Fifth amendment rights.
Industry groups have argued that creating a public database of injury data could reveal proprietary information about a company's activities and would be one-sided. For example, the public could see injury data but not the steps employers might take to reduce the chance of that injury happening again.
One provision of the new rule — referred to as the "anti-retaliation" measure — has also become a lightning rod for industry controversy, although the courts have decided that issue in OSHA's favor. This piece of the electronic recordkeeping rule forbids employers from conducting automatic, post-injury drug tests. OSHA's rationale for this restriction is that employees will be more likely to report injuries and illnesses if there is no fear of employer punishment. Companies are only allowed to test employees if there is a reason to believe that drugs contributed to the incident.
The agency also announced earlier this week that it is seeking to amend the beryllium exposure rule that went into effect this year. OSHA said there was little reason to believe that some of the rule's supplementary provisions would add to jobsite safety in the construction and shipyard industries.
OSHA also delayed enforcement of its new silica exposure rule, which some industry groups have complained will be very costly to implement. The new compliance date for that regulation is Sept. 23.
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