OSHRC rules on statute of limitations for recordkeeping violations

March 30, 2011

Washington – OSHA may cite an employer for certain recordkeeping violations that occurred years earlier, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled March 11.

In 2007, OSHA issued AKM LLC (which was doing business as Volks Constructors) a serious citation for failure to record injuries and illnesses and post a summary of those records for employees. The citation covered a period between January 2002 and April 2006.

Volks argued the violations were “one-time events” occurring beyond a period in which OSHA is allowed to cite. According to Section 9(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA has six months from the time of the violation to issue a citation.

OSHRC commissioners unanimously upheld four of the five items in the original citation related to failing to record injuries and illnesses, calling it a “continuing” violation. The fifth item, related to posting a record summary, was vacated when a majority of the commissioners ruled that because employers are required to post only the summary until April 30 of any given year, citations for violating the requirement must be issued within six months of that date.

The commissioners assessed a fine of $13,300 for the citation.