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Comment deadline on proposed OSHA injury reporting rule extended


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended to Oct. 28 its public comment deadline on a proposed rule to clarify an employer's continuing obligation to accurately record workplace injuries and illnesses.

The proposed rule, published on July 29, aims to make clear that employers are required to record injuries and illnesses for the full duration of the mandatory five-year record retention period, a duty that does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so, OSHA said in its proposed rule.

The proposed rule emanates from an April 2012 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the administration said. That decision vacated 171 citations issued by the administration to Prairieville, Louisiana-based contractor Volks Constructors for failing to properly record certain workplace injuries and for failing to properly maintain its injury log between January 2002 and April 2006, according to court documents. These citations and a total fine of $13,300 were issued by the administration in November 2006, according to court documents.

The D.C. Circuit held that the administration cannot cite employers for failing to record work-related injuries and illnesses more than six months after the initial obligation to record the cases occurred, per the statute of limitations established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, according to an analysis published by Washington-based law firm Beveridge & Diamond P.C. in April 2012. The court overturned the Occupational Safety and Health Commission's nearly two-decade stance on the issue, which allowed OSHA to write citations for up to five years, the analysis noted.

The proposed rule would not add new compliance obligations, nor would employers be required to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required, according to the administration.

Comments were originally due Sept. 28.

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