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House votes to block OSHA’s controversial Volks rule

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Wednesday to overturn a controversial U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that obligates employees to keep injury and illness records for five years. 

The House voted 231 – 191 to adopt H.J. Res 83, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act that targets OSHA’s rule that clarifies that employers have a continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness for five years. The rule, which became effective Jan. 18, was OSHA’s attempt to affirm a long-held agency stance that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in cases dating back to 1993, but was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2012 in AKM L.L.C. v. Secretary of Labor (Volks)

“OSHA’s power grab is not only unlawful, it does nothing to improve workplace safety. What it does do is force small businesses to confront even more unnecessary red tape and unjustified litigation,” Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., chairman of the subcommittee on workforce protections who introduced the resolution, said in a statement on Wednesday. “As Republicans have been saying for years, OSHA should collaborate with employers to prevent injuries and illnesses in workplaces and address any gaps in safety that might exist. I am pleased the House has acted to block this unlawful rule, and look forward to continuing our efforts to support proactive safety policies that help keep America’s workers safe.”

The resolution now awaits Senate action and, if adopted, would head to President Donald Trump, who has already signed two resolutions using the Congressional Review Act to overturn midnight regulations adopted by the Obama administration: a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation on resource extraction disclosure and the Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule to regulate water pollution caused by coal mining.