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August 3, 2015

OSHA Proposes New Rule Clarifying Employers’ Duty To Report Death, Injuries Illnesses

Last Tuesday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed a new rule clarifying employers’ obligations to record and report incidents certain involving employees. Under current regulations, while employers must maintain records of employees’ work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths for five years and OSHA can only issue citations up to six months after an incident occurred. 

The agency said it was issuing the clarification to make it clear “the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness” (five years). The proposed rule says an employer’s duty to report doesn’t expire “just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so.” According to Business Insurance, “Despite proposed changes to existing provisions, the amendment wouldn’t change compliance obligations or require employers to keep records of injuries or illnesses they aren’t currently required to keep …” 

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, in issuing this new proposal, OSHA defied a 2012 decision by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which said the Occupational Safety and Health Act “deals with record-keeping” only and “is not authorization for OSHA to cite the employer for a record-making violation more than six months after the recording failure.” Interested parties have until Sept. 27, 2015 to comment on OSHA’s proposal.