Federal agencies Recordkeeping

Groups sue OSHA over suspension of deadline for injury, illness data

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Washington — Three public health advocacy groups are suing OSHA over the agency’s suspension of the submission deadline for Forms 300 and 301 data as part of its Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule.

The lawsuit was filed July 25 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by Public Citizen, the American Public Health Association, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. It states that OSHA decided not to require or accept injury and illness data from employers who were required to electronically submit the data by July 1.

The groups also contend that OSHA’s announcement of the suspended deadline for the forms happened “in or around” May, and that the agency did not follow notice-and-comment protocol for those changes as mandated in the Administrative Procedure Act.

“OSHA did not publish a notice of the suspension of the July 1, 2018, deadline in the Federal Register and did not solicit public comment on it. Instead, OSHA announced the suspension of the deadline for the 2017 data on its website,” the lawsuit states.

In the announcement, OSHA states that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to “reconsider, revise or remove provisions” in its recordkeeping rule, including data collection from Forms 300 and 301.

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs finished its required review of that proposed rule July 23, meaning OSHA likely will publish it in the Federal Register in the near future.

“The electronic recordkeeping rule is vital to worker safety,” Sean Sherman, a Public Citizen attorney, said in a July 25 press release. “OSHA’s turnabout flouts the law and will needlessly harm workers across the country. Public Citizen and other worker advocacy organizations planned to use OSHA’s data to conduct research on occupational health and safety, analyze the most serious workplace threats and push for stronger regulatory protections.”

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