Congress Strikes Down OSHA Recordkeeping Rule

Filed in Capitol Hill, Codes and Regulations by on March 22, 2017 4 Comments

In a victory for NAHB and the small business community, the Senate today passed legislation approved by the House earlier this month that will force the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reverse a recent recordkeeping rule that would needlessly harm small employers.

“NAHB led the charge along with other industry groups to work with Congress to roll back this regulatory overreach,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “OSHA’s rule would subject millions of small businesses to citations for paperwork violations, while doing nothing to improve worker health or safety.”

NAHB vigorously opposed OSHA for overstepping its authority by unilaterally extending the explicit six-month statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations to five years.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established that employers must keep accurate records of employee injuries and illnesses for five years and that OSHA has six months to cite an employer for a violation. Subsequent court rulings upheld the six-month statute of limitations.

Nonetheless, in a clear attempt to circumvent congressional authority and in spite of the court rulings, OSHA proceeded with its rulemaking, which went into effect on Jan. 18.

When President Trump signs the legislation into law, OSHA will still be able to issue a citation for recordkeeping paperwork violations up to six months after they occurred and employers will still have the exact same obligation to record injuries as they always had.

The difference: OSHA will no longer be able to play “gotcha” by issuing a citation five years after the occurrence, which would do nothing to minimize workplace hazards but would subject small businesses to needless fines and excessive paperwork requirements.

The legislation passed by a vote of 50-48. For more information, contact Alex Strong at 800-368-5242 x8279.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Ray Kothe says:

    Senator Cassidy from La. and his staff did a great job of getting this bill in right before the dead line.

    • NAHB Now says:

      You can say that again, Ray. And it should be noted that but for your efforts, and those of some of your fellow Louisiana builders reaching out to Senator Cassidy, this might not have ever happened. This was a great team win and shining example of how powerful our Federation’s advocacy efforts can be when everyone is pitching in.

  2. Tim says:

    Wouldn’t want potential employees harmed by the ability to see if their employer has a “record” of unsafe worker safety practices. This is ridiculous.

    On a separate note the photo on the top of this page, “NAHB Now”, of the log cabin, that railing doesn’t look like it meets code on spacing requirements.

    • NAHB Now says:

      Nor would we, Tim! Fortunately, neither this rule, nor the revocation of it, did anything to affect the period of time for which employers must ‘keep and preserve’ records on injuries and illness — that’s still five years. What the rule did was simply expand the period (statute of limitations) during which OSHA could issue a citation, despite the OSH Act being quite clear about that period (see for yourself – https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=oshact&p_id=2743 Sec. 9 (c)).

      In addition, employees (and even former employees and employees representatives) can gain access to their employers’ relevant and accurate OSHA injury and illness records, by simply asking.

      Hope this has cleared up any confusion. Doesn’t hesitate to write or call with questions.

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