Industry pushback helps stall OSHA electronic reporting, anti-retaliation rule enforcement

Sources: CP staff; Associated Builders & Contractors, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.

Concurrent implementation of the OSHA “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule’s anti-retaliation and electronic injury reporting portions is shifting from August 10 to November 2016 and January 2017, respectively.

The original deadline was indicated in a May 2016 final rule a) requiring most employers to submit injury and illness forms electronically; b) facilitating a public, online injury and illness online database, searchable by company; and, c) deeming some forms of post-accident drug testing and accident-free incentive programs unlawfully retaliatory. “Improve Tracking,” ABC contends, forces public disclosure of sensitive information, which can easily be manipulated and misused for reasons wholly unrelated to safety; and, through anti-retaliation provisions, will compel many employers to change their current safety programs in ways that will make workplaces less safe—mainly by discouraging drug testing and incentive programs.

OSHA’s mid-July announcement of new compliance deadlines took place days after ABC, Pennsylvania-based Atlantic Precast Inc. and six other plaintiffs challenged the anti-retaliation provisions in federal court. The revised target allows the agency to conduct additional outreach to “Improve Tracking”-bound employers, providing them educational materials and guidance.

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