On July 13, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a delay of the implementation of its recently published Rule that amends requirements for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses. The goal of the new Rule, originally scheduled to go into effect August 10, 2016, is to promote an employee’s right to report such injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. Because it felt that post-accident drug testing rules were being used by employers to limit reporting of workplace accidents, OSHA also attempted to place restrictions on the use of drug and alcohol tests in the workplace.
Under the Proposed Rule, employers must electronically submit all work-related illness and injury records directly to OSHA, which, according to the Secretary of Labor, will be available to the public, with the exception of personally identifiable information.
OSHA’s announced delay came one day after the Manufacturers Center for Legal Action (MCLA) filed an action in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas to enjoin the implementation of the Rule. In its Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the MCLA alleged the new Rule is contrary to and exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority and is “arbitrary, capricious and not in accordance with applicable law.” This follows a recent hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, in which many employers expressed concerns over the Rule’s likely impact.
OSHA announced that it will not enforce the new Rule until November 1, 2016, allowing time “to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.” However, the MCLA legal action remains active, and the District Court might address the matter prior to November 1.