On January 1, 2015, Federal OSHA’s new reporting and recordkeeping requirements went into effect. In addition to reporting all employee fatalities within eight hours, employers will now also have to report work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees, amputations, and physical eye loss within 24 hours of the incident. OSHA has also updated the list of partially exempt industries that do not have to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records.
Recent OSHA activity indicates the agency will soon unveil its proposed rule to make recordkeeping violations “continuing” for purposes of OSHA’s six-month statute of limitations (SOL). In addition to placing the rule on its Spring 2014 Regulatory Agenda, OSHA most recently announced the rule will be on the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health’s (ACCSH) agenda for its December 3-4, 2014 meeting. According to the expected amendment, recordkeeping will become an ongoing obligation. This means the six-month period to issue a citation will restart every day an employer fails to correct an existing violation. If promulgated, the rule could significantly expand OSHA’s window to issue recordkeeping citations.
OSHA has a very ambitious regulatory agenda this year. Most recently, it announced a proposed regulation to require electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses quarterly and the creation of an online searchable database for those reported injuries and illnesses. While OSHA emphasizes that the proposed regulation will not alter employers’ basic recordkeeping duties, it will dramatically change the way that OSHA uses injury and illness data to select employers for inspections, and provide unions, community activists, plaintiffs’ lawyers, and competitors with easy access to that data as well.
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