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Sustainability in the Workplace

On December 20, OSHA today released a white paper, Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Protecting Worker Safety and Health, highlighting the importance of including worker safety and health in the growing movement toward sustainability and corporate responsibility.

The paper highlights ways in which sustainability can be leveraged to reimagine and identify innovative approaches for advancing safety and health, which include:

  • Creating new partnerships to support integrated OSH and sustainability activities;
  • Enhancing  interdisciplinary training and education for workers, the OSH community and business professionals;
  • Measuring  the impact of safety and health performance on business outcomes;
  • Recognizing employers that successfully integrate OSH into sustainability efforts; and
  • Improving access to data on safety and health for sustainability reporting.

Members can get a copy of the white paper along with a blog, profiles, and tweets on OSHA’s new sustainability webpage: www.osha.gov/sustainability.

More Recordkeeping

OSHA issued one of its last final rules for this administration, “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” on December 19, 2016. The final rule amends the OSHA recordkeeping regulations to clarify that the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation. The duty to make and maintain an accurate record of an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep and make available records for the year in which the injury or illness occurred. The duty does not expire if the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so. The final rule revises § 1904.29(b)(3) to state:“

How quickly must each injury or illness be recorded?  You must enter each and every recordable injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log an don a 301 Incident Report within seven (7) calendar days of receiving information that the recordable injury or illness occurred. A failure to record within seven days does not extinguish your continuing obligation to make a record of the injury or illness and to maintain accurate records of all recordable injuries and illnesses in accordance with the requirements of this part. This obligation continues throughout the entire record retention period described in § 1904.33.

The agency’s initiative stems from a 2012 federal appeals court ruling in which a three-judge panel held that, under the OSH Act’s Section 9(c) statute of limitations provision, OSHA had no authority after six months from the date a workplace injury or illness must be recorded to cite an employer for not recording the incident.

Despite the finding in Volks II, OSHA issued this final rule revising § 1904.29 to clarify that a discrete record-keeping violation can continue during the 5-year retention period. The final rule is effective January 18, 2017.

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