OSHA Anti-Retaliation Rules Take Effect Today

Submitted by Firm:
Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, P.C.
Firm Contacts:
Abtin Mehdizadegan, J. Bruce Cross, Misty Wilson Borkowski
Article Type:
Legal Update

Despite several businesses and trade associations challenge to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) final record-keeping rule, the anti-retaliation provisions restrictions on safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing will be enforced beginning today, December 1, 2016.

The controversial provisions require employers to inform employees about their right to report workplace injuries and illnesses without facing retaliation. OSHA's guidance that accompanied the rule places restrictions on workplace safety incentive programs that penalize employees for reporting workplace injuries. The guidance also allows post-accident substance testing only in situations where it appears that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the incident.

A Texas federal judge decided not to stop the new provisions from taking effect on the basis that the business groups' members would not be irreparably harmed if the rule were implemented, saying the groups failed to explain why they would be subjected to an increased likelihood of inspections, citations, and severe penalties from OSHA under the new rule than they already face under existing regulations.

The anti-retaliation provisions are part of a broader record-keeping rule that will require certain businesses to electronically submit injury and illness data-some of which will be available to the public on the agency's website, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2017.