66 Labor, Civil Rights, Environmental Groups Tell Congress Not to Repeal Crucial Health and Safety Regulations

Washington, DC—The National Employment Law Project, along with 65 other public health, environmental, community, civil rights, labor and public interest organizations, have submitted a letter to House leaders urging the representatives to oppose H.J. Res 83, a resolution that would repeal a key Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule issued under President Obama. This resolution will undermine workplace health and safety in the most dangerous industries in the U.S.

Addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Chairman Virginia Foxx and Ranking Member Robert Scott, the letter outlines the importance of the rule that would be repealed in protecting workers from workplace injuries, illnesses and death, noting that it also does not impose any new costs or obligations on employers and does not affect small businesses. Rather, the rule simply clarifies OSHA’s authority to hold certain employers accountable for their longstanding obligation to maintain accurate records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses.

Since the Nixon Administration, larger employers in high hazard industries have been required to maintain records of serious workplace injuries and illnesses for a period of five years. The Department of Labor uses those records as a basis for published statistics of workplace injuries and illness, while they allow OSHA to better allocate its scarce resources across the country. The records also provide a guide to employers for identifying and correcting job dangers.

But in 2012, a court decision overturned decades of precedent by making it impossible for OSHA to enforce against recordkeeping violations that are more than six months old. The rule that is the subject of the proposed resolution corrects that problem, which directly affects the safety of millions of workers.

“Accurate injury and illness records are vitally important to the protection of workers. They are the most important tool that employers and government use to identify and eliminate job hazards that kill over 4,800 workers a year and seriously injure almost 3 million more,” the letter reads. “If employers have no obligation to maintain accurate records during the five-year retention period, worker health and safety will be seriously jeopardized.”

“We ask you to stand with American workers and oppose H.J. Res 83. The OSHA clarifying rule on maintaining accurate records imposes no new costs to business, but is critical to assuring that workplace fatalities and injuries are prevented.”

Click here to read the full letter.

The National Employment Law Project is a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts research and advocates on issues that affect low-wage and unemployed workers.


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