Federal agencies Recordkeeping

Lawsuit against OSHA’s recordkeeping rollback may proceed, district court rules

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Washington — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied the Department of Labor’s request for the dismissal of a lawsuit stemming from OSHA’s suspension of its deadline for employer submission of data from Forms 300 and 301 – part of its Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule.

In his opinion, published Dec. 12, Judge Timothy J. Kelly also chose not to grant a preliminary injunction against DOL and OSHA sought by Public Citizen Health Research Group, the American Public Health Association, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

As part of its electronic recordkeeping rule, OSHA mandated that certain employers submit 2017 data from Forms 300, 300A and 301 by July 1. Under the Trump administration, the agency announced on its website in May that it would suspend the deadlines for the more detailed Forms 300 and 301. It instead would accept only Form 300A, which contains a summary of occupational injuries and illnesses.

The three groups filed their joint lawsuit July 25, contending OSHA did not follow notice-and-comment protocol as mandated in the Administrative Procedure Act.

 

OSHA issued a proposed rule on July 30 that officially eliminates the Forms 300 and 301 data submission requirements. That altered regulation is under review by the White House Office of Budget and Management’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, meaning it could become a final rule soon.

OSHA submitted its motion for dismissal of the lawsuit Oct. 29. The groups also sought a preliminary injunction against the deadline suspension because they wanted 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,” Public Citizen attorney Sean Sherman said in a July 25 press release.

“The Court is not persuaded by Plaintiffs claim that even delay in their ability to access and use the information submitted under the Rule inflicts irreparable harm,” Kelly wrote in his denial.

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