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Industry groups ask for delayed enforcement of OSHA rule

Posted On: Apr. 3, 2017 10:05 AM CST

Industry groups ask for delayed enforcement of OSHA rule

Industry groups suing the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration over OSHA’s controversial electronic record-keeping rule have asked a Texas court to delay the July 1 enforcement date for electronic reporting of injury and illness records if a stay in the litigation is granted. 

The new rule, which became effective Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their on-site OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Under the current compliance schedule, establishments 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 — must submit information on their 2016 injuries and illnesses by July 1, 2017, and their 2017 information by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019, the information must be submitted by March 2.

A judge in the U.S. District Court in Dallas is overseeing a lawsuit filed by industry groups against the electronic record-keeping rule. The department filed a motion on March 17 asking the court to stay the case for 60 days to allow incoming leadership adequate time to consider the issues raised in the litigation. In its response on Friday, the industry groups agreed that a stay is advisable so that the new secretary of labor, once confirmed, can review the merits of the rule. 

“However, a stay that is not accompanied by an equivalent delay in enforcement of the approaching July 1 deadline for compliance with the challenged injury reporting requirements of the new rule would prejudice plaintiffs’ rights to judicial review of the rule before enforcement begins,” the groups said in their response. 

The groups, which including the National Association of Manufacturers and Great American Insurance Co., noted that the department has already delayed enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions of the new rule twice, once on its own initiative for 60 days and once at the judge’s request for an additional 30 days

“Significantly, those delays occurred without any of the compelling grounds for delay presented by the recent change in administrations and the department’s mandate to conduct a full regulatory review of the new rule,” they said. “Plaintiffs therefore request that the court condition the grant of defendants’ 60-day stay request on the department’s agreement to an equivalent stay of the July 1 enforcement date for the public injury reporting provisions of the new rule. Such a stay should allow the incoming new governing officials at the department and/or this court to fully review the regulatory justifications and burdens imposed by the new rule.”