Workplace Injury Reporting Under Two-Pronged Attack

March 20, 2017 by
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National Public Radio reports that Congress is moving to nullify a Labor Department rule that requires employers to keep careful records of worker injuries and illnesses for five years. If the new legislation goes into effect, the Department will have only six months to check companies’ logs and issue a fine if they are inaccurate or incomplete.

The NPR story quotes David Michaels, the former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), saying that there are currently not enough safety inspectors to catch problems that fast and that “some worry that accurate record keeping on injuries will effectively become voluntary.”

In addition to the reported legislation, OSHA rule-enforcement could become even harder if its budget is reduced. The "Budget Blueprint" released last week by the Trump Administration proposes a 20.7% cut to the Department of Labor.

The NPR story notes that:

Two former commissioners of the Bureau of Labor Statistics — one appointed by President George W. Bush and one appointed by President Barack Obama — have written lawmakers to warn that national data on workplace injuries would become less reliable.

Republicans in the House have already approved a resolution (H.J.Res.83) to nullify the Department of Labor rule. A similar measure (S.J.Res.27) is advancing in the Senate.

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