Chamber of Commerce to Disagree with OSHA Rulemaking (Again)
Earlier this month, the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) heard a presentation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on employers’ continuing obligation to make and maintain accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses.
OSHA has said that “the duty to record an injury or illness … does not expire just because the employer fails to create the necessary records when first required to do so.” In other words, being fined by OSHA for violating a record-keeping rule does not absolve the employer of its ongoing responsibility to keep up-to-date records. Employers that continue to fail to keep the legally required records continue to be subject to fines.
This should be a matter of common sense – arguing the contrary is like saying a driver pulled over on the highway and fined for speeding should no longer be required to obey speed limits.
But this commonsense obligation to keep accurate records (and obey the law) apparently is not enough for some employers. That’s why OSHA is planning to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the end of the year seeking to amend its record-keeping regulations to clarify that the duty to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses is an ongoing obligation.
The rulemaking is necessary because in 2012 a panel at the D.C. Circuit court disagreed with OSHA’s 40 years of practice and rejected the agency’s argument that a failure to record an injury or illness is a continuing violation.
Corporate America would like to continue the current limited rule interpretation and it would not be far-fetched to guess that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees with the D.C. Circuit decision.
During the recent ACCSH meeting, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the law offices of Jackson and Lewis P.C. and the law offices of McDermott Will & Emery could be seen expressing their disdain for OSHA’s proposal to modernize the record-keeping rule. And, earlier this year, OSHA was met with strong Big Business opposition on a different proposed record-keeping rule change. So there is no reason to think that this new proposal will be treated any differently by the Chamber once it is entered into the Federal Register.
Keith Wrightson is the workplace safety expert for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Keep up with Public Citizen’s workplace health and safety work by following @SafeWorkers on Twitter
December 21, 2014 @ 5:14 pm
Dear Chamber of Commerce:
Why are you so willling to treat the workers of America as disposable widgets? If a company keeps violating health and safety laws ——–why do you, Chamber applaud this idea? HOW is that good for America?
You, of the U.S,Chamber of Commerce, all need to sit down and read THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair. During the last guilded age, people were forced to stand around on corners to hopefully get picked for a job. If they were hurt, they either had to keep showing up in pain or they were let go. WHY would this be good for America?
Why does this guilded time period of history seem so wonderful to you, Chamber, that you want it to appear again, and why would you want to trash OSHA? Apparently , you think that these kinds of injuries will never happen to you. Maybe they won’t—–but down the road, as fortunes rise and fall, fall, fall, no doubt one of your relatives will need OSHA——-and if you, Chamber prevail, these future relatives of yours will be left twisting and starving in the wind. Why would this be good for America?
“What;s good for business is good for America—” some people keep saying this——but is it true? NO! Somehow not only workers rights are being attacked, but the America of not too long ago is too——-that America when things were more fair and equal. When the workers do well—-so does the entire economy and so do the corporations. Of course, those were the old corporations, who hadn’t yet truly morphed into “people.” : )
If you get rid of OSHA, Chamber, then we will have to really see what this personhood is really about. For example, I had a dog and it bit anyone, I would be held responsible and if said dog bit you, Chamber—-you would certainly sue me. Why would you believe that dissing injured workers and covering up injuries would be a good idea? Did you sleep through that compounding pharmacy in Boston— the one that killed quite a few people? Why would you think that this ignoring problems of corporate activity would be good for America?
So, if you were to destroy OSHA, then everyone who was injured would have to sue that corporate person—because, just like in the last guilded age, you would fire that injured person, wouldn’t you, Chamber. How would any of this be good for America?
In the long and short run, Chamber, it would be better to support OSHA, because really that is the only fair and workable thing to do. I keep hearing that we are an “exceptional” nation——-so Chamber, the only way that you could prove that we are the” exceptional” nation—is to treat the REAL and DNA made people the same way as you, Chamber, want to treat the corporate people-and if you couldn’t do that, Chamber——- WHY would that be good for America?
Really, Chamber——-it looks and sounds as if you would like the corporations to become Feudal Lords, and really the Magna Carta helped to trounce that Divine Right idea a long time ago in the year 1215. On Jan 1st of 2015–that Divine Rights of King John will have been taken down 800 years ago! That ‘owning a person’s soul ” was a bad idea 800 years ago! Citizens are not serfs! Believing in that idea, Chamber, would make YOU, a real enemy of the People. How would that be good for you, Chamber or for America?
U.S. Chamber Watch
December 23, 2014 @ 3:52 pm
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