Safety and OSHA News

Congress votes to repeal OSHA’s 5-year recordkeeping rule

Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress has passed a measure to rescind an OSHA rule that requires companies with more than 10 employees to keep injury records for five years. 

President Trump is expected to sign the measure.

The vote nullifies OSHA’s rule, “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness.”

The OSHA measure is known as the Volks rule because it sought to reverse a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, AKM LLC dba Volks Constructors v. Secretary of Labor.

OSHA had fined Volks for failing to properly record workplace injuries and maintain its injury log between 2002 and 2006. OSHA issued the citations in November 2006.

The DC Circuit court ruled against OSHA, saying the agency’s error was not citing Volks for the loss or destruction or a record. Instead, OSHA cited Volks for failing to create a record in the first place.

Why did OSHA under the Obama administration enact the rule? Obama OSHA chief David Michaels said the measure would “enable employers, employees, researchers and the government to identify and eliminate the most serious workplace hazards – ones that have already caused injuries and illnesses to occur.”

What changes now for employers? OSHA will no longer have an additional avenue for recordkeeping fines. OSHA won’t be able to cite companies for failure to record an injury going back up to five years instead of just six months.

Other OSHA recordkeeping requirements remain.

The CRA enables Congress to rescind recently enacted regulations with s simple majority vote. It also prohibits any future administration from enacting a substantially similar measure without Congress’ approval.

The first time Congress used the CRA, it was to remove another OSHA rule. In 2001, Congress voted to end the OSHA ergonomics standard established in the final months of the Clinton administration.

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