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Groups ask for injunction to bar electronic record-keeping rollback

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A coalition of public health organizations has asked a federal court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration from implementing its plan to roll back parts of its electronic record-keeping rule.

The regulation, formally known as the Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses rule, was adopted under the Obama administration and would require employers with 250 or more employees to electronically submit their injury and illness data to OSHA. In July, however, OSHA released a proposal to amend the 2017 record-keeping regulation by rescinding the requirement for these establishments to electronically submit information from OSHA forms 300 and 301. These establishments will continue to be required to submit information from their Form 300A summaries.

“OSHA’s partial suspension of the rule without undertaking notice-and-comment procedures and without a reasoned explanation violates the procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act,” Public Citizen Health Research Group, the American Public Health Association and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists said in their filing to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday. “Because plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their APA claims and plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm without preliminary injunctive relief, and because the balance of the equities and public interest weigh strongly in plaintiffs’ favor, this court should grant plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoin OSHA’s unlawful suspension of the rule and order OSHA to require and accept submissions required by the electronic reporting rule within 30 days.”

The groups said in the filing that a government attorney indicated that the government will oppose the preliminary injunction motion. An OSHA spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

In January, the groups sued the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA after submitting Freedom of Information Act requests for the summary records submitted under the rule that were denied by the agency.

But even the proposed change by OSHA fell short for employers as they said the agency’s new rule focused on protecting sensitive employee information while leaving sensitive employer data vulnerable.