Democratic lawmakers this week launched an effort to restore the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to penalize certain record-keeping violations by businesses.
The newly introduced Accurate Workplace Injury & Illness Records Restoration Act is unlikely to pass a Congress that rescinded the OSHA rule earlier this year, but proponents cautioned that without it, employers could underreport work-related injuries, illnesses or fatalities.
“Tracking workplace injuries and deaths is critical to crack down on the most dangerous industries and repeat offenders, and I’m proud to introduce this commonsense legislation because workers should be able to trust that their employer isn’t knowingly and unnecessarily putting their lives at risk," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement.
The measure was introduced six weeks after President Trump signed legislation that rejected the OSHA rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to strike recent federal regulations without the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.
The rule enabled OSHA to cite employers for violations throughout a five-year window after a 2012 court decision had limited it to six months, but critics argued that it was overly burdensome to businesses.
The authors of the new legislation, however, countered that their measure would simply restore OSHA's decades-long oversight of continuous record-keeping violations — and would not create new mandates for businesses.
Murray and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., authored the Senate version of the bill; the House bill was introduced by Reps. Mark Takano, D-Calif., Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.
“The Trump administration promised to stand up for America's workers but it has pursued an aggressive anti-worker agenda," Takano said. "This is an opportunity for President Trump is fix a mistake and keep his promise to stand with working families.”