Employers will again have to disclose detailed worker injury data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if Congress approves a new resolution. The resolution was introduced in early February according to the Congressional Review Act (CRA). It would undo a new OSHA rule that exempts large employers from having to submit detailed reports about workers who were injured or fell ill. Under the rule, employers still have to keep detailed records about worker injuries and sickness but only have to provide summaries to OSHA.
Rep. Andy Levin (D.-Mich.) sponsored the resolution as his first bill as a member of Congress. According to a press release from Levin, the OSHA rule weakened protections for injured workers because reporting those injuries helps the federal government address hazardous workplaces. Opponents of Levin’s resolution argued that the new OSHA rule protects worker privacy by keeping sensitive data safe from public disclosure.
The original rule was a deregulatory action following President Trump’s Executive Order 13771, which requires agencies to eliminate two old regulations for each new regulation. Under regulations set during the Obama administration, some employers had to submit detailed information to OSHA about employee illnesses and injuries every year.
Under the Congressional Review Act, the resolution would need to pass both houses of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature to repeal the rule.
The CRA is a federal law passed in 1996 creating a review period during which Congress, by passing a joint resolution of disapproval that is then signed by the president, can overturn a new federal agency rule.
Prior to 2017, the law was successfully used only once, to overturn a rule on ergonomics in the workplace in 2001. In the first four months of his administration, President Donald Trump (R) signed 14 CRA resolutions from Congress undoing a variety of rules issued near the end of Barack Obama’s (D) presidency. As of May 2018, the last time the CRA was successfully used, 16 rules have been repealed under President Trump.