With thousands of workers getting hurt and passing away due to on-the-job injuries each year, preventing work injuries is vitally important. To try to help keep employees safe, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes rules aimed at preventing common causes of workplace injury.
In order for OSHA to prevent injuries, and in order for companies to prevent injuries, they must know what causes workers to get hurt. This is why it is so important for companies to keep accurate records when workers are injured. Now, however, congress has voted to repeal an OSHA rule related to record-keeping, and some safety experts are concerned this could increase the risk of work accidents.
If a worker is harmed at work, that worker needs to know his rights. An Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer should be consulted to provide assistance to those who are harmed at work. Work injury benefits could provide coverage for injuries and for the death of an employee while performing work tasks.
Atlanta Workplace Injuries Could Rise Due to Repeal of Record-Keeping Rule
Occupational Health & Safety published a report about the repeal of OSHA’s record-keeping rule. The rule had been promulgated by OSHA in response to a case called AKM LLC dba Volks Constructors v. Secretary of Labor in which the D.C. Court of Appeals had ruled against OSHA’s interpretation of the rules surrounding record-keeping.
In Volks, OSHA had conducted an investigation and had fined Volks for not keeping proper records of work injuries between 2002 and 2006. OSHA did not discover many of the record keeping failures for four years after the time when the failures occurred. OSHA mandates that companies keep records of work injuries of five years, so OSHA believed they could still fine the contractor for failing to keep the records since it was within the five-year time frame when the records were supposed to be retained.
Volks, however, argued that OSHA had only six months to issue a citation, and the D.C. Court of Appeals agreed because OSHA’s five-year rule related to modifying or destroying records; it didn’t apply when no record was kept in the first place. Under the Court’s interpretation, OSHA could only fine a company if OSHA discovered within six months that the company wasn’t keeping records, which was too short of time. OSHA passed a rule to ensure they could take action for a records-keeping failure for five years.
It is this rule that congress voted to repeal under the Congressional Review Act. The Congressional Review Act makes it possible to rescind rules passed shortly before the end of the president’s term in office. The repeal of the OSHA rule could give companies more leeway not to properly record work injuries which could, in turn, make it much more difficult to accurately track the common causes of work injuries so those injuries could be prevented.