OSHA’s Final Rule

final rule


OSHA has released a final rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 18th. This rule is to help clarify that the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation.

“The amendments add no new compliance obligations and do not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not currently required to be made,” the rule states.

OSHA wants to emphasize that if you fail to record a work-related injury or illness at the time you are supposed to, it does not make that injury or illness disappear. You still have a responsibility to accurately report these issues for it is an ‘ongoing obligation’ to keep your employees safe with proper documentation.

What provoked OSHA’s final rule?

The final rule amendments are in response to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling that the Occupational Safety and Health Act does not permit OSHA to impose a continuing recordkeeping obligation on employers. OSHA disagrees on this decision but does admit that their record keeping regulations were not clear. Thus, creating the final rule to clarify the regulations that may appear in future court cases.

What exactly does the final rule do?

In order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of injury and illness data collected by employers and reported to OSHA, the final rule:

  1. requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation;
  2. clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and
  3. incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.

“This rule simply returns us to the standard practice of the last 40 years,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a press release. “It is important to keep in mind that accurate records are not just paperwork; they have a valuable and potentially life-saving purpose.”

This final rule is not to inconvenience business owners but to prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths for employees by better identifying and removing these hazards with the proper documentation. If you are unsure you are properly recording workplace injuries and illnesses, give us a call today: (330) 915-2355.