The U.S. House of Representatives passed the second “significant” piece of legislation authored by Rep. Bradley Byrne (R, Mobile) — one blocking an Obama-era regulation that extended the time period in which employers can be fined for record keeping violations.
While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has always required employers to record and maintain a log of workplace injuries and illnesses that occur during a five-year span, the law that established the department limits the time period employers can be cited for record-keeping violations to six months.
However, in the final days of Barack Obama’s presidency, OSHA finalized a change in its rules that extended the threat of those penalties to the full five-year time span — something Byrne has since criticized as an “unlawful power grab.”Byrne, who serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, used the provisions of the Congressional Review Act earlier this month to file a resolution blocking the rule change — a move strongly supported by a number business groups and the Trump administration.
“OSHA’s power grab is not only unlawful, it does nothing to improve workplace safety. What it does do is force small businesses to confront even more unnecessary red tape and unjustified litigation,” Byrne said. “As Republicans have been saying for years, OSHA should collaborate with employers to prevent injuries and illnesses in workplaces and address any gaps in safety that might exist.”
The newly-added regulation has also already found itself at odds with two federal appeals courts that rejected the policies behind it after a Louisiana construction company was cited for paperwork errors occurring nearly five years prior. Byrne’s resolution, which passed the House 231 to 191 on Wednesday, will now move to the Senate for consideration.
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