Personal Injury

House votes to overturn portion of OSHA’s new electronic recordkeeping rule

The House of Representatives voted last week 231-191 to overturn a portion of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new electronic recordkeeping rule. The House voted to void a portion of the rule, which took effect Dec. 1, 2016, that would have required employers to keep an accurate record of each on-the-job-injury for five years.

OSHA’s final recordkeeping rule requires industries to meet electronic filing requirements and make their injury and illness information available on a public database. Several companies have filed suit claiming the new requirements are burdensome and could expose confidential information. Proponents contend making the records public will push industries to increase safety due to the transparency.

The portion of the rule overturned last week would have upped OSHA’s enforceable timeframe for recordkeeping violations from six months to five years and has been decried as an overreach of authority by OSHA. “OSHA’s power grab is not only unlawful, it does nothing to improve workplace safety. What it does do is force small businesses to confront even more unnecessary red tape and unjustified litigation,” Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., who introduced the resolution, said in a statement on March 1.

The House used the Congressional Review Act to voice its disapproval of the rule, and the move comes as other Obama-era regulations have been overturned using it. The measure now moves to the Senate. If approved, a joint resolution would then head to the president, who has already signed two joint resolutions of disapproval — one involving a Securities and Exchange Commission regulation and the other the Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule — using the Congressional Review Act.

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