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OSHA clarifies ongoing record-keeping duties


OSHA clarifies ongoing record-keeping duties

Employers in South Carolina and around the country are required to record work-related injuries and illnesses and keep the records for at least five years. If an employer does not maintain accurate records, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration may decide to issue citations to the employer. However, OSHA only has six months to issue a citation after an alleged record-keeping violation occurs.

On Dec. 19, OSHA released a final rule on the ongoing obligations that employers have to keep accurate workplace injury and illness records. No additional requirements were included in the final rule, but it clarified the existing ones. The final rule amended some text in the provisions and titles of previously written OSHA regulations.

According to OSHA, employers must continue to keep accurate injury and illness records even after a record-keeping failure occurs. In other words, if an employer fails to record an accident when it first happens, the employer will still be obligated to keep records of ongoing injuries that were caused by the accident. OSHA said that employers’ continuing record keeping obligations were not stated clearly enough in the text of the original rule. The final rule will be effective on Jan. 18, 2017.

A person who was injured at work can file a workers’ compensation claim even if their employer was negligent in their duty to keep accurate records of the injury. An attorney may be able to help a worker in this situation to gather enough evidence to prove that the accident took place at work and their workplace injuries were caused by that accident.