Lawmakers push for new OSHA recordkeeping law

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate have introduced legislation to reinstate OSHA’s recently overturned recordkeeping rule.

According to a report in Safety.BLR.com, legislation was introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and by Representatives Joe Courtney (Connecticut), Bobby Scott (Virginia), and Patty Murray (Washington).

Their bill, the Accurate Workplace Injury & Illness Records Restoration Act, would reinstate an OSHA rule that was recently overturned through the Congressional Review Act. The rule, known as the ‘Volks’ rule, permitted OSHA to cite employers that did not maintain complete or accurate injury and illness records for the previous five years. With the rule’s overturning, OSHA is only able to cite employers that fail to maintain accurate injury and illness records if the agency does so within 6 months of the alleged recordkeeping violation.

The proposed legislation would reinstate OSHA’s authority and enable the agency to issue citations in cases where a violation of the recordkeeping requirements continues for more than six months from the date the employer should have first recorded the injury.

If the bill passes, OSHA would be required to issue a new regulation within 180 days that clarifies an employer’s obligation to make and maintain accurate records as a continuing obligation. Sponsors point out that the legislation creates no new recordkeeping or reporting obligations, but merely clarifies OSHA’s ability to enforce longstanding requirements.

Among organizations supporting the proposal are the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, and Public Citizen.

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