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Proposed OSHA rule clarifies reporting requirements

Tennessee employers may soon have clarification regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration reporting requirements if a proposed rule passes. OSHA requires employers to keep records of an on-the-job injury or illness for five years. The agency is considering amending the law due to an April 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

In that ruling, the court ruled against OSHA. The agency had issued citations for the company's failure to record employee injuries going back five years, but the company argued that due to a six-month statute of limitations, OSHA could not issue those citations. The court sided with the company.

OSHA is now seeking to clarify its rule. According to the agency, the rule will not change which injuries or illnesses must be recorded or add any new compliance measures. The proposed new rule appeared in the July 29, 2015 Federal Register, and the company has extended the opportunity for comments to Oct. 28, 2015. Several organizations had requested the extension including the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Manufacturers. A representative of the National Roofing Contractors Associations has said that the new rule is an agency overreach.

Rules and regulations concerning workplace accidents can be complex and unclear, and people who are injured in these circumstances may not be aware of their rights. Most employers are required to provide workers' compensation coverage to their employees, and workers who have been injured on the job may therefore want to obtain the assistance of an attorney in determining their eligibility to file a claim for benefits.

Source: EHS Today, "The Volks decision: What does it mean for employers? ," Arthur G. Sapper, June 18, 2012

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