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OSHA praises judge’s decision on electronic recordkeeping rule

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is pleased with a Texas judge’s decision to deny a request for a nationwide preliminary injunction against its electronic recordkeeping rule, David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor, said on Wednesday. 

U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay in Dallas, who is overseeing a challenge to the rule filed in July by the National Association of Manufacturers, Great American Insurance Co. and several other organizations, agreed with the Department of Labor’s argument that the plaintiffs  did not meet the burden of proof required to demonstrate they would suffer irreparable harm from the rule taking effect, according to his decision filed on Monday. 

“We were pleased, we thought we made a strong argument and we were glad the judge agreed,” Mr. Michaels said on the sidelines of an Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health meeting in Washington. 

OSHA, which just released its slips, trips and falls rule, also hopes to publish its long-awaited beryllium rule by the end of his term, Mr. Michaels said.

“These are not last-minute rules,” he said. “That’s a major rule and it has the support of industry as well as the Steelworkers Union.”

“We’re not worried about it,” Mr. Michaels added. “This is not controversial. The industry is asking for it. We think the rule will be welcomed by both industry and labor.”  

A final date has not been set for the end of his tenure as head of OSHA, but Mr. Michaels said he planned to return to his position as Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and start teaching again in January.