OSHA’s Publishes Second Controversial Recordkeeping Regulation in 2016

On Dec. 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule to revise existing language in the recordkeeping regulation to emphasize an employer’s responsibility to make and maintain accurate OSHA 300 Logs and all related incident reports.  The new rule drastically expands on the existing regulatory language and in some cases added new provisions.  While the newly published rule does make clear OSHA’s expectations involving the maintenance of injury and illness records, the true impetus for the rulemaking is to drastically expand the agency’s statute of limitation granted by the OSH Act. The OSH Act clearly states that “no citations may be issued after the expiration of six months following the occurrence of any violation.” However, this new rule will allow contractors to be cited for honest mistakes, or inaccuracies, related to recordkeeping dating back as far as five-and-a-half years.  OSHA’s justification is that an omission of an injury or illness from the OSHA 300 Log constitutes an ongoing occurrence until corrected during the five-year retention period under the recordkeeping regulation.
AGC submitted comments opposing this rulemaking as part of the Coalition for Workplace Safety in 2015. On Nov. 22, 2016, AGC staff met with the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to raise concerns while the rule was under their review.  OSHA’s false interpretation of their statute of limitation, and subsequent justification, not only raised concerns among the regulated community but also members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce who recently sent a letter to the White House demanding they reject the rulemaking.
Unfortunately, none of the efforts were successful.  AGC encourages all of its contractor members to be extra diligent in investigating and documenting all facts related to reported injuries and illnesses to determine if they meet the recording criteria for entry on the OSHA 300 Log.  The final rule becomes effective on Jan. 18, 2017.
For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at [email protected] or (703) 837-5410.

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