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Part of OSHA rule may be reversed

Workers in New Jersey may be interested to learn that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is canceling a rule that would have required employers with at least 250 workers to submit illness and injury information from Forms 300 and 301 electronically. According to the Department of Labor, the reversal of the rule will alleviate the burdens the employers experience when trying to comply with the requirements and will keep information that is personally identifiable private.

The proposed rule, "Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses," will require employers to electronically provide information just from OSHA Form 300A. Additional provisions in the rule, such as the anti-retaliation mandate, are to remain in place.

The new OSHA proposal was not unexpected as the current administration voiced its intention in a 2017 regulatory agenda to reevaluate the rule. According to OSHA, the rescission addresses one of the main concerns of employers, which was that information about employees' injuries would be public and could be seen by competitors, plaintiffs' attorneys, reporters and union organizers. However, advocates of public safety assert that the workers are provided sufficient protection under the original rule and are litigating to make sure it remains in place.

One unexpected feature of the proposed rule was that the anti-retaliation provision was not rolled back. Prohibiting the provision would mean the end of specific safety incentive programs, post-injury drug testing and post-injury discipline.

An attorney who practices workers' compensation law may assist clients who have sustained injuries while on the job. The attorney may advocate on behalf of injured clients whose benefits have been denied. The appropriate federal agencies may be notified of the unsafe work conditions that contributed to the workplace injuries.

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