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Lawsuit over OSHA electronic records rule delayed

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A Texas court has granted a request for a 60-day delay in litigation over the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s electronic record-keeping rule. 

U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay, who is overseeing litigation filed by industry groups against the OSHA rule, granted a motion by the Trump administration last week and stayed the case until June 5. The deadline to submit a proposed summary judgment briefing schedule and for the administration’s response to motions to intervene in the case was extended to July 5. 

“No further extensions of time will be granted absent good cause,” Judge Lindsay said in the one-page order. 

The judge’s order means employers with 250 or more employees in industries covered by the record-keeping regulation — as well as those with 20 to 249 employees in high-risk industries such as agriculture, forestry, construction and manufacturing — will have to comply with a July 1 deadline to electronically submit information on their 2016 injuries and illnesses.

Industry groups have also sued OSHA in the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, asking the court to declare the rule unlawful and for an order vacating the regulation. The lawsuit challenged OSHA’s plans to publish the collected information on a public website, with the plaintiffs arguing that there is no evidence that publication of the information will have any effect on workplace safety and health.

“While it remains to be seen how either of these legal challenges will fare, the business community has shown a willingness to strongly oppose this new rule — a rule that has been widely criticized as emblematic of regulatory overreach,” law firm Seyfarth Shaw L.L.P. said in an alert on Thursday. “However, as the rule remains on the books, employers are required to comply with the July 1 electronic reporting deadline or face the risk of citations and penalties.”