U.S. Chamber Responds to OSHA’s Misguided Regulation Requiring Employers to Report Injuries and Illnesses

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 10:45am

‘Instead of improving workplace safety, this will only create a new filing requirement that will lead to sensitive employer data being published without context or explanation,” says Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson issued the following statement today on the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) final rule requiring employers to report their injury and illnesses:

“The Chamber is deeply disappointed that OSHA has finalized this misguided regulation. Instead of improving workplace safety, this will only create a new filing requirement that will lead to sensitive employer data being published without context or explanation. The agency’s excessive reporting requirements will lead to employers being falsely branded as unsafe and will not reflect a company’s commitment to maintaining a safe workplace. Additionally, OSHA’s obsession with shaming employers has not lead to better results in workplace safety and this regulation will not change that trend.

“Even more importantly, OSHA lacks the statutory authority to publish these employer records. Similarly, the agency does not have the authority to enforce the changes it has made to the enforcement of whistleblower claims. The new regulation will allow whistleblower charges to be brought without an employee filing a whistleblower claim—meaning there could be whistleblower penalties without a whistleblower. 

“Among the misuses of these records will be unions mischaracterizing employers in organizing and corporate campaigns, and trial lawyers bringing frivolous lawsuits. Organized labor, who asked for this regulation, will exaggerate minor incidents to create the impression of an unsafe workplace. Trial lawyers will leverage these files against employers to extract settlements.  

“OSHA has committed to removing any employee information from the submitted records, but given the hundreds of thousands of records the agency will receive this will be impossible.  This is a poorly conceived, unworkable, and unauthorized regulation that will not help protect employees that should not have been issued.”