“A Valuable and Life-Saving Purpose”: OSHA Clarifies Workplace Injury Reporting Rules
December 21, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Health System
The duty to create and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries "is an ongoing obligation," clarified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a final rule issued on December 19, 2016. The final rule was issued in response to a 2012 U.S. Court of Appeals decision finding that the Occupational Safety and Health Act did not allow OSHA to mandate continuing record-keeping obligations and that record-keeping violations needed to be cited within six months of when the incident was required to be recorded. In the final rule, OSHA said that "the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness; the duty does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so." OSHA further states that its position has long been that an employer's duty is to record injuries and illness for the full five-year retention period and the new rule "simply returns us to the practice of the last 40 years." The rule is designed to more clearly state employers' obligations.