OSHA to launch online electronic recordkeeping app
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday that it would release a web-based injury and illness reporting form on Aug. 1.
OSHA is releasing the application despite proposing earlier this month that implementation of the new provision be pushed from July 1 to Dec. 1, giving employers and the Trump administration more time to review it. The agency has also opened a public comment period.
Construction industry groups, like the National Association of Home Builders, have argued that the rule could violate employers' First and Fifth amendment rights by forcing them to submit employee injury and illness data online, thus revealing proprietary information in a public database. Another argument against the rule is that it would only highlight the injury or illness taking place and not the measures companies took to prevent them from happening again.
In January, the NAHB and other industry groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma trying to block the regulation, but a federal judge stayed the action earlier this month pending potential revisions to the rule.
That's not the only new OSHA rule facing pushback from the construction industry.
Another contentious piece of the new electronic recordkeeping measure is the "anti-retaliation" portion, which bars employers from performing post-incident drug tests unless they have reason to believe that drugs contributed to the cause. OSHA contends that automatic testing keeps employees from reporting injuries and illnesses. The courts have ruled in favor of OSHA on this issue.
OSHA recently walked back its position on the newly-implemented beryllium exposure rule, saying it would amend the regulation. The measure went into effect in May, but the agency said that some of its construction and shipyard industry provisions would not actually increase job site safety.
OSHA has also delayed enforcement of the new silica exposure rule from June 23 to Sept. 23. The agency said it needed to obtain additional guidance on the rule "due to the unique nature of the requirements." Employers have argued that the reduction in allowable exposure to silica dust from 250 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour period to 50 micrograms, along with the other requirements of the rule, would be too costly.
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