On March 22, the U.S. Senate voted along party lines (50-48) to approve House Joint Resolution 83: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ‘Clarification of Employer's Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness.’” The U.S. House of Representatives already had passed the measure, so it now goes to the president for his signature. The White House already has issued a Statement of Administration policy announcing that the Trump administration “strongly supports” passage of the bill.
The legislation was authored by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, to block what he called “an unlawful regulation” from OSHA.
“I applaud the Senate for their swift passage of my bill to stop this unlawful power grab,” said Byrne. “We should be focused on proactive policies that help improve workplace safety instead of punitive rules that do nothing to make American workers safer. We took a major step in the right direction today by restricting OSHA from moving ahead with such a flawed regulation.”
According to information released by Byrne’s office, the December OSHA rule:
- Is an unlawful power grab. Congress has the authority to write laws – not government agencies. The OSH Act explicitly states that an employer may only be cited for failing to keep proper health and safety records within six months. Two federal appeals courts have agreed that the statute of limitations is six months.
- Does nothing to improve worker health and safety. Instead of focusing on paperwork errors that occurred five years ago, OSHA should spend its time and resources addressing current working conditions and preventing injuries and illnesses from happening in the future.
- Creates regulatory confusion for small businesses. By finalizing an unlawful regulation, the Obama administration created significant uncertainty for employers. The rule particularly hurts small business owners who will face a confusing maze of record-keeping standards and unwarranted litigation.
“I look forward to President Trump signing my bill in the near future so we can continue moving forward with workplace safety policies that actually make sense and work,” said Byrne.