Federal agencies Recordkeeping

Six states file suit against rollback of OSHA electronic recordkeeping requirements

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Washington — Attorneys general of six states have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt OSHA’s rollback of its electronic recordkeeping requirements for submitting worker injury and illness data, claiming the agency did not provide a “reasoned explanation” for the change.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, the American Public Health Association, and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists filed a similar lawsuit on Jan. 25, also in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

OSHA’s Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule required covered establishments with 250 or more employees or those in certain high-hazard industries with 20 to 249 employees to electronically submit to the agency data from Forms 300, 300A and 301.

Citing privacy concerns, OSHA issued a final rule on Jan. 25 to require submission of only Form 300A, an annual summary of injuries and illnesses, instead of the two more detailed forms.

The states’ joint lawsuit, filed March 6 with New Jersey as the lead plaintiff, contends, “Suddenly, OSHA claimed that reporting of detailed workplace injury and illness information would not do much good, but it failed to adequately consider the benefits to states, employers, workers and researchers that it had laid out in detail in 2016.

“And just as suddenly, OSHA now asserted that collection and disclosure of this information would undermine worker privacy, despite the ways the agency had already planned to address these concerns. Although many commenters – including some of the Plaintiff States – highlighted these fundamental flaws, OSHA dismissed them out of hand.”

 

Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York also claim that this quick reversal without a “reasoned explanation” violates the Administrative Procedure Act and court precedent.

“New Jersey workers – and workers across the country – have the right to know about dangerous conditions on the job,” New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in a March 6 press release. “Public reporting of workplace safety information helps states enforce our labor laws, forces employers to remove hazards, and empowers workers to demand improvements. Workers deserve that transparency, and the federal government should not be trying to take it away.”

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