OSHA clarifies injury, illness reporting rule

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule that clarifies industry’s ongoing obligation to maintain accurate records of employee injuries and illnesses. The final rule becomes effective Jan. 18, 2017.

“This rule simply returns us to the standard practice of the last 40 years,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “It is important to keep in mind that accurate records are not just paperwork; they have a valuable and potentially life-saving purpose.”

OSHA amended the rule in response to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued in 2012. The panel ruled that OSHA does not have the authority to impose a continuing recordkeeping obligation on employers.

OSHA said the new final rule more clearly states employers’ obligations. “The duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness; the duty does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so. The amendments consist of revisions to the titles of some existing sections and subparts and changes to the text of some existing provisions.

“The amendments add no new compliance obligations and do not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not currently required to be made.”

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