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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

President Overturns OSHA Ongoing Recordkeeping Rule

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The final rule required employers to create and maintain workplace injury and illness records for at least five years.
  • The Trump administration signed into law a bill that invalidates the final rule.
  • Employers subject to OSHA recordkeeping requirements must create injury and illness records within six months of an incident and retain these records for at least five years.

IMPORTANT DATES

December 19, 2016
OSHA’s final rule on ongoing employer recordkeeping obligations published.

April 3, 2017
The final rule was nullified.

On April 3, 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law House Joint Resolution 83 (H.J. Res. 83). This bill nullifies a recordkeeping final rule issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA issued this final rule to amend its recordkeeping regulations and clarify that an employer’s duty to create and maintain work-related injury or illness records is an ongoing obligation. The final rule did not create any additional or new recordkeeping obligations for employers.

The clarification explained that an employer remains under an obligation to record a qualifying injury or illness throughout the five-year record storage period, even if the incident was not originally recorded during the first six months after its occurrence.

This Compliance Bulletin contains information regarding the nullified final rule and clarifies which legal requirements no longer affect employers subject to OSHA recordkeeping rules.

ACTION STEPS

The final rule is no longer valid. Therefore, employers are no longer required to comply with any of its provisions. Employers that were affected by the final rule should review their workplace injury and illness recordkeeping procedures and ensure that they are consistent with the nullification of this rule.

OSHA Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA requires employers to create and maintain records about workplace injuries and illnesses that meet one or more recording criteria. Specifically, employers must:

  • Create and update a log of work-related injuries and illnesses (OSHA Form 300);
  • Create and maintain injury and illness incident reports (OSHA Form 301); and
  • Create and display an annual summary of workplace incidents (OSHA Form 300A) between Feb. 1 and April 30 of each year.

Employers must keep these records for at least five years. The five-year retention period begins on Jan. 1 of the year following the year covered by the records. For example, the five-year retention period for incident reports created on Jan. 23, 2015, June 15, 2015, and Nov. 4, 2015, begins on Jan. 1, 2016.

Penalties for Noncompliance

OSHA has the authority to issue citations and assess fines against employers that violate recordkeeping laws. However, in general, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) does not allow for a citation to be issued more than six months after the occurrence of a violation.

OSHA is of the opinion that a violation exists until it is corrected. Therefore, according to OSHA, the six-month period to issue citations and assess penalties begins on the date of the last instance of the violation. For example, if a violation that started on Feb. 1 was corrected on May 15, the six-month period would begin on May 15, and OSHA would have until Nov. 15 to issue a citation.

OSHA also asserts that uncorrected violations are considered ongoing violations, and that each day of noncompliance is subject to a separate penalty.

The Final Rule

According to OSHA, adopting the final rule and amending its recordkeeping regulations was necessary because the previous regulations did not allow OSHA to enforce an employer’s incident recording obligation as an ongoing requirement. In fact, a federal circuit court has held that the former regulations did not authorize OSHA to “cite the employer for a record-making violation more than six months after the recording failure.”

The court also noted that there is a discrepancy between the OSH Act and the regulations, and that while the OSH Act allows for continuing violations of recordkeeping requirements, the specific language in the regulations does not implement this statutory authority and does not create continuing recordkeeping obligations.

The federal court interpretation of the regulations meant that employers were no longer responsible for recording or storing workplace incidents if OSHA failed to detect and penalize employers for omitted recordable incidents within the six-month period. For this reason, OSHA issued its proposed amendments on July 29, 2015.

Impact on Employers

Because the final rule has been effectively repealed, employers are no longer required to comply with any of its provisions. This means that OSHA cannot enforce an employer’s recordkeeping obligation if the employer fails to record an incident within the first six months of when the incident took place. In practical terms, this means that OSHA will have to limit the scope of its recordkeeping investigations to the previous six months, rather than the previous five years.

However, because some OSHA records span entire calendar years, employers that fail to create injury and illness records in a timely fashion risk the possibility of keeping inaccurate records or reporting erroneous information to OSHA. Therefore, employers should not interpret this legislative development as an opportunity to bypass or contravene existing OSHA recordkeeping obligations.

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3 years ago · by · 0 comments

Tips for Your Home, Life and Auto

5 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

Staying healthy is about more than paying attention to your physical body—your mental health directly influences how you think, feel, react and maintain relationships. If you don’t take steps to promote your mental health, you may find that anxiety, depression and irritability can take control of your life.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 5 adults experience some form of mental illness in a given year, but less than half of them seek professional treatment. And, even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a mental illness, taking steps to improve your mental well-being can improve your physical health and help you maintain positive relationships.

Here are five tips you can use to help improve your mental health:

  1. Talk with those who care about you. Simply talking to friends, family members or co-workers can help you overcome a personal problem and stay connected.
  2. Take a break from digital distractions. Although smartphones and other modern technology make it easy to stay connected with others, focusing too much on digital media can make it easy to ignore close relationships and the world around you.
  3. Take care of your body. Your brain is still part of your physical body, so it’s important to exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and get enough restful sleep.
  4. Set realistic goals and focus on taking the first step. Many projects or errands can seem overwhelming when taken as a whole. Try planning out steps for large tasks and concentrate on what you need to do first.
  5. Get help when you need it. Although there can be negative social stigmas about seeking help for mental or emotional problems, mental health professionals are trained to help manage stress and mental illnesses with therapy or medication.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that’s produced by the incomplete burning of any fuel, including gas, fire and wood. Many of the appliances in your home produce harmless amounts of CO. However, if these appliances aren’t properly maintained or ventilated it could lead to a hazardous buildup of CO. And, because the gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless, it can be easy to remain unaware of potentially dangerous levels of CO in your home.

Symptoms of mild CO poisoning can include flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, nausea and weakness. However, exposure to large amounts of CO for an extended period can be fatal. Follow these steps to prevent a buildup of CO in your home:

  • Install CO detectors on every level of your home. Also, never assume that your home’s smoke alarms can also detect CO.
  • Check your appliances every year to ensure that they’re in safe working order and have sufficient airflow around them. Appliances that emit CO include fireplaces, water heaters, portable generators, power tools, lawn equipment, and gas- or wood-burning cooking appliances.
  • Never leave a car or other motorized vehicle running in an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • Never rely on ovens, gas grills or other appliances to heat your home.
  • Contact a specialist to ensure that your chimneys, vents and flues are providing sufficient ventilation to your home.

For more information on protecting your home from CO and other dangerous gases, such as radon and natural gas leaks, contact us today at 831-661-5697.

Removing Distractions Before You Drive

Distracted driving is a serious and deadly problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving leads to over 3,000 deaths and 375,000 injuries every year. Although many conversations about distracted driving focus on cellphones, the truth is that any distraction can be enough to cause a deadly accident. The following list includes some of the ways you can remove distractions and keep yourself safe on the road:

  • Get plenty of rest before you drive. Studies have shown that fatigued drivers perform just as poorly as those who drive while intoxicated.
  • Know where you’re going and the road conditions before you drive. Looking at a map or having to focus on the weather can take your attention off of the road and surrounding traffic.
  • Secure any items in your vehicle that may roll around. You may be tempted to reach for them while you’re driving.
  • Don’t use your cellphone or a hands-free device while driving. If you absolutely must contact someone, pull over to the side of the road first.

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Company information

Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

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Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

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Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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