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Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses is Now in Effect

OSHA’s new rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, took effect on December 1.

As previously reported in the Leadership Update , in July 2016 several trade associations and others (“plaintiffs”) filed suit against OSHA challenging the agency’s anti-retaliation provisions in the final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (81 Fed. Reg. 29,624) (May 12, 2016). The legal challenge alleged the final rule exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority, violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and requested the Court to declare the final Rule unlawful and set it aside. Additionally, the plaintiff’s also requested a nationwide preliminary injunction to permanently delay the effective date of the standard until a decision is reached in the case.

The impact of this decision is that all employers including ISRI members had to begin compliance with OSHA’s new rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses by December 1, 2016. Starting December 1, OSHA is able to issue citations and penalties and require abatement, including reinstatement and financial compensation to terminated employees, order payment of revoked incentives and other remedies to make the employee whole for violations of the anti-retaliation provisions of the final rule. Employers are also required to provide information to employees regarding injury reporting and the requirements that prevent employers from retaliating against employees

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm would be incurred without an injunction or that an injunction was necessary to protect the public interest.

A decision on the merits of the legal challenge and the validity of the final Rule has not yet been made. Also, there may be regulatory changes following the change of the presidential administration early next year. But for now, these regulations are the law, and ISRI members should review their policies. Contact Terry Cirone for any questions concerning this information. More detailed information concerning this regulation can be found on the ISRI OSHA Alliance website in the Regulatory Update section.

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