OSHA Defense

What You Need to Know About OSHA’s Record Keeping Rule and Congress

On March 1, the House of Representatives approved a resolution designed to drastically change OSHA’s rules on recording work site injuries and illnesses. The resolution of disapproval was introduced on February 21 by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and reverses an OSHA rule requiring companies to record work-related injury and illness data for up to a five-year period. As OSHA defense lawyers, we’ve worked with a number of companies in a variety of industries. We’ve seen the impact of OSHA rules. The turning back of this rule can be potentially impactful to many companies.

For the House of representatives vote, the U.S. Senate voted 50-48 to nullify the Volks rule. The resolution now goes to President Donald Trump to sign. If he does, the rule will be officially dissolved.

Here’s a few items you need to know about OSHA’s record keeping rule:

  • OSHA has required companies to maintain up to five years worth of work site injury and illness records for several years. However, companies can only be cited for violations within in six-month period.
  • OSHA’s rule was anecdotally named the “Volks” rule for Volks Constructors, who was issued a citation by OSHA for not reporting work site injuries occurring as early as four years prior to the citation. Volks contended that the statute of limitations ran out because the injuries occurred beyond the statute of limitations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which is six months. OSHA countered by saying that their citations were justified because the Volks violations were ongoing.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in 2012 that OSHA couldn’t issue citations for failing to record on-the-job injuries or illnesses if the violation took place beyond the six-month window.
  • In response, OSHA created a rule stating that a “record keeping error” fell within a five-year window due and could be cited due to the fact that the employer continued to not correct its injury and illness logs. This is the rule that Congress has voted to dissolve.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.