January 18, 2017 will mark the effective date of OSHA’s final rule that clarifies making and maintaining work-related injury and illness documentation. The amendments in this rule do not stipulate any new compliance obligations, and the injury and illness reporting requirements remain the same. Instead, the rule clarifies the duration of time that employers are responsible for keeping records of recordable work-related injuries and illnesses.
According to 29 CFR 1904.33, employers must save all injury and illness reporting documentation for five years from the end of the calendar year those records cover. The Occupational Safety and Heath Review Commission has long supported the position that this means an employer must maintain injury and illness records for the full five year retention period. However, in 2012, a significant decision was issued by the D.C. Circuit in AKM LLC vs. Secretary of Labor (Volks) that rejected this position. The argument cited a stipulation in the Act that states that “
If you have not already done so, be sure to review the Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness final rule.