In December, 2016, OSHA issued a final rule intended to “clarify[y] an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness.” The final rule, titled “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness” and informally referred to as the “Volks” rule, took effect in January of this year. The final rule also increases the statute of limitations from six months to five years after a work-related injury or illness occurred, and requires employers to record an injury or illness for as long as the employer is required to keep records of the recordable injury or illness. The rule emphasizes that this duty does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so.
Now, the rule is scheduled to be reversed with a resolution President Donald Trump intends to sign to return recordkeeping requirements for recordable injury and illness to their state before publication of the “Volks” rule.
The House of Representatives passed the resolution on March 1, 2017 and it was adopted by the Senate under the Congressional Review Act on March 22, 2017, shedding light on the opinion of Congress that OSHA exceeded its authority with this final rule.
OSHA’s anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws published on May 12, 2016 amending requirements for timely injury and illness reporting, post-accident drug tests and employee incentive programs went into effect on January 1 of this year. Though a plan for publishing injury and illness reports on OSHA’s website—an action mentioned in the final rule—have not been established yet, employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these new laws to avoid citations.