NAHB Chairman Issues Statement on Legal Challenge to OSHA Rule

Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., has issued the following statement on the legal challenge filed by NAHB and several other industry groups against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Labor, regarding OSHA’s final rule called “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses:”
   
“NAHB and other industry groups have joined together to fight this rule. We have opposed this rule from the start, and cannot allow this type of regulatory overreach to occur.”
   
“Among the issues with the rule, there are concerns associated with OSHA’s requirement of employers to submit detailed injury and illness logs to the agency for public posting. Not only does OSHA not have the authority to do this, it also exposes a business to reputational harm, all without demonstrating any evidence that it would reduce workplace injuries and illnesses.
   
“We also have concerns about the anti-retaliation portion of the rule which would allow OSHA inspectors to cite an employer without needing a complaint from a worker–this is an overreach of authority as it goes against Congress’s mechanism to address retaliation that is specifically set forth in the OSHA statute.
   
“OSHA has not justified any of the rule’s requirements with any real benefits analysis and has relied on anecdotal information. This is insufficient and cannot be allowed to stand and potentially serve as a precedent for other agency rules. Workplace safety is of the utmost concern of our members, however this rule is unlawful and does not serve its intended purpose of improving workplace safety. The rule needs to be vacated and set aside in its entirety.”

OSHA Extends Comment Period for Proposed Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Rule

The OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION is extending the comment period on the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses to Oct. 14, 2014. The proposal, published Nov. 8, 2013, would amend the agency’s record-keeping regulation to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep.

During the public meeting held on the proposal, many participants expressed concern that the proposal may create motivation for employers to under-record injuries and illnesses because each covered establishment’s injury and illness data would become publicly available on OSHA’s website. Participants also expressed concern that the proposal would lead to an increase in the number of employers who adopt practices that discourage employees from reporting recordable injuries and illnesses. OSHA is concerned the accuracy of the data collected under the new proposal could be compromised if employers adopt these practices.

“OSHA wants to make sure that employers, employees and the public have access to the most accurate data about injuries and illnesses in their workplaces so that they can take the most appropriate steps to protect worker safety and health,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Therefore, OSHA is soliciting comments on whether to amend the proposed rule to require that employers inform their employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses, more clearly communicate the requirement that any injury and illness reporting requirements established by the employer be reasonable and not unduly burdensome, and provide OSHA an additional remedy to prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for reporting injuries and illnesses.

Individuals interested in submitting comments may do so electronically at Regulations.gov, the federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted via mail or facsimile. See the Federal Register notice for details.