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Final rule regarding recordkeeping is issued

Workers in New Jersey should know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a final rule that clarifies employers' continuous obligation to create and maintain information regarding workplace illnesses and injuries. The rule includes only compliance or recordkeeping requirements for injuries or illnesses for which recording mandates are already in place.

According to the recently released rule, it is the duty of the employers to maintain accurate records, even if they fail to record the incident when they are initially supposed to do so. The recordkeeping is an ongoing obligation.

The amendments to the rule include modifications to the titles of sections and subparts as well as the text of provisions. They are a response to a legal case in which the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided that OSHA had six months from the day of an alleged failure to record an illness or injury to issue a citation for the recordkeeping infraction. The decision rejected the assertion by OSHA that it had five-and-a-half years to issue a citation. The length of time included a five-year time frame during which the record of the injury should be maintained and an additional six months for statute of limitations.

In its ruling, OSHA agreed that the ongoing nature of employer recordkeeping obligations was not explicit. In a press release, a representative of the organization stated that accurate records could serve as life-saving measures.

An employee who suffers an injury while performing his or her job duties may be entitled to workers' compensation. An attorney who practices personal injury law may offer advice regarding other actions that could be taken to address any unsafe working conditions or behavior on the part of the employer that contributed to the workplace injury.

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