Federal agencies Recordkeeping

Groups sue OSHA, DOL over recordkeeping rule

Photo: Ridofranz/iStockphoto

Washington – The National Association of Home Builders and other industry groups have filed a lawsuit against OSHA and the Department of Labor over what they call an “unlawful and arbitrary rule” that requires employers to electronically submit public worker injury and illness data, which will then be made available to the public on OSHA’s website.

In the lawsuit, filed Jan. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the groups claim OSHA had no authority to issue the Improve Tracking of Workplace Illnesses and Injuries final rule, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The rule states that establishments with at least 250 workers must electronically submit to OSHA data from OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 annually. Establishments with 20 to 249 employees in certain high-hazard industries are required to submit information from their annual summary form, OSHA Form 300A.

“We have vigorously opposed this rule from the start, and cannot allow this type of regulatory overreach to occur,” NAHB Chairman Ed Brady said in a press release. “Among the many issues with the rule, there are significant concerns associated with OSHA’s requirement of employers to submit detailed injury and illness logs to the agency for public posting.

“Not only does OSHA not have the authority to do this, it also exposes a business to significant reputational harm, all without demonstrating any evidence that it would effectively reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.”

Other industry groups involved in the lawsuit include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

“We also have serious concerns about the anti-retaliation portion of the rule, which would allow OSHA inspectors to cite an employer without needing a complaint from a worker – this is a clear overreach of authority as it goes against Congress’s carefully constructed mechanism to address retaliation that is specifically set forth in the OSHA statute,” Brady said.

He also questioned the research methods used to formulate the rule.

“OSHA has not justified any of the rule’s requirements with any real benefits analysis and has relied entirely on anecdotal information,” Brady said. “This is entirely insufficient and cannot be allowed to stand and potentially serve as a precedent for other agency rules. Workplace safety is of the utmost concern of our members; however, this rule is unlawful and does not serve its intended purpose of improving workplace safety. The rule needs to be vacated and set aside in its entirety.”

In July, eight organizations, including Associated Builders and Contractors, filed a lawsuit to block the rule. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas denied the motion on Nov. 28.

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