OSHA’S TIME PERIOD TO CITE EMPLOYERS FOR RECORDKEEPING VIOLATIONS HAS BEEN CUT SHORT

The Volks Rule

Last December, OSHA issued a rule entitled “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain Accurate Records of Each Recordable Injury and Illness,” informally known as the “Volks” rule.  The rule required employers to maintain records on injuries and illnesses for a five-year period and allowed OSHA to cite employers for failing to record work-related injuries and illnesses during the five–year retention period.  The Volks rule went into effect on January 18, 2017, but last week, Congress approved a resolution to revoke the rule. President Trump signed the resolution on April 3, 2017, formally invalidating the Volks rule.  While the resolution does not affect OSHA’s ability to require employers to maintain injury and illness records for five years, it has gutted OSHA’s ability to issue citations to employers for failing to keep such records beyond the six-month statute of limitations.

What this Means for Employers

Employers must continue to maintain records on injuries and illnesses for a five-year period, as this requirement has not been invalidated.  However, it is unclear what, if any, penalty will be imposed for failure to do so, as OSHA has been limited by the new resolution, to issuing citations for violations going back only six months.


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