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OSHA Recordkeeping Rule Subject of Lawsuit

A coalition comprised of industry associations, employers and an insurance company has filed a legal challenge against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding enforcement of its new electronic recordkeeping rule.

The rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA logs. The agency said it will use the information to improve its enforcement and compliance assistance resources.

The agency will post some of the data on its website. OSHA believes public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety.

The coalition has asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to declare the rule unlawful on the grounds that it prohibits or otherwise limits incident-based employer safety incentive programs and/or routine mandatory post-accident drug testing programs. The coalition includes the National Association of Manufacturers, Great American Insurance Co. and several other organizations.

The rule’s provisions on post-accident drug testing have been particularly controversial because federal state workers’ compensation laws encourage and sometimes require such programs. “There is no reliable evidence to support OSHA’s assertion that any category of safety incentive programs or post-accident drug testing programs lead to materially inaccurate reporting or under-reporing of workplace injuries and illnesses,” the lawsuit states.

OSHA does not comment on current litigation.