By Robert G. Chadwick, Jr., Managing Member, Seltzer Chadwick Soefje & Ladik, PLLC.
On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed legislation nullifying a new OSHA rule, published on December 19, 2016, which sought to impose upon employers continuing obligations to create OSHA 300 Logs and OSHA 301 Incident Reports throughout the entire five-year period in which such records are required to be maintained. As noted in a December 19, 2016 post on this blog, OSHA’s new rule sought to avoid the statute of limitations of the Occupational Safety & Health Act (“OSH Act”) which states that “no citation may be issued … after the expiration of six months following the occurrence of any violation.” 29 U.S.C. § 658(c).
As noted in the previous blog post, however, OSHA’s continuing obligation theory had previously been addressed and rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2012 in AKM, LLC v. Secretary of Labor. There, the D.C. Circuit enforced the OSH Act’s 6-month statute of limitation as to a record-keeping violation spanning four years. In the absence of repeal, therefore, the new rule was facing a certain legal challenge by employers. With the repeal of the OSHA rule, employers have been spared what was sure to be costly and protracted litigation.