OSHA recently issued one of its last rules, “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to “Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness.” 81 Fed. Reg. 91792 (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.
OSHA's longstanding position has been that an employer's
duty to record an injury or illness continues for the full five-year
record-retention period, and this position has been upheld by the Occupational
Safety and Health Review Commission in cases dating back to 1993. In 2012, the
D.C. Circuit issued a decision in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor (Volks)
reversing the Commission and rejecting OSHA's position on the continuing nature
of its prior recordkeeping regulations.
The new final rule more clearly states employers'
obligations. "This rule simply returns us to the standard practice of the
last 40 years," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety
and Health Dr. David Michaels. "It is important to keep in mind that
accurate records are not just paperwork; they have a valuable and potentially
The amendments in the final rule add no new
compliance obligations and do not require employers to make records of any
injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.