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OSHA Extends Comment Period for Injury Reporting Rule

By | September 23, 2015

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is extending the deadline for submitting comments on a proposed rule that it says clarifies an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness.

The comment due date has been extended to Oct. 28, 2015.

OSHA said it issued the proposed rule in light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in AKM dba Volks LLC v. Secretary of Labor to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for the five years the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness.

In the Volks decision of April 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against OSHA’s practice of issuing citations alleging that an employer failed to record an employee injury on a log with citations sometimes going as far back as five years – the period of time employers are required to keep their injury records.

According to OSHA, the proposed amendments add no new compliance obligations and would not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.

However, in posted comments, William Good, representing the National Roofing Contractors Association, opposes the rule, calling itan example of agency overreach that reflects an unfortunate lack of respect for the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Volks case.” NRCA has urged OSHA to withdraw this proposed rule.

The proposed rule was published in the July 29, 2015, issue of the Federal Register.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Home Builders requested an extension of the deadline for comment.

Thus far, only four comments have been submitted to the online forum. In addition to the business groups, a private citizen from Georgia has commented.

A year ago, in a separate action, OSHA revised the rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. Under the revised severe injury rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours.

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