The Congressional and White House attacks on worker rights and health and safety continue.
On Wednesday March 1, 2017, the House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 83, a Congressional Review Act Resolution of Disapproval, that would repeal an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that clarifies an employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. The Resolution passed 231-191, largely along party lines with the Republicans in support of doing away with this important worker health and safety Rule and Democrats voting to maintain the protection for workers.
Prior to the vote, the BCTGM International Union along with the AFL-CIO and many other International Unions formally called upon members of Congress to reject an attempt to dismantle the system the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) uses for recording injury and illness rates.
In a letter of opposition sent to the U.S. House of Representatives on February 28, BCTGM International President David Durkee stated:
“Our Local Union health and safety committees, in conjunction with employers, use these records to identify hazardous conditions and take corrective action to prevent future injuries and exposures. Accurate injury and illness logs are an indispensable tool for employers to use in an effort to create a working environment that is free of hazards for its workforce.
“Without the rule, it will be impossible for OSHA to effectively enforce record-keeping requirements and assure that injury and illness records are complete and accurate. Underreporting of injuries, already rampant in the manufacturing sector, will only become worse, undermining safety and health and putting workers in danger,” concluded President Durkee.
The rule, issued in December 2016, made clear that employers had an obligation to maintain accurate injury and illness records for five years and during this time could be held accountable for violations if records were not complete and accurate. The rule creates no new obligations on employers. It simply reinstates a longstanding OSHA policy in place for 40 years, that allows OSHA to enforce recordkeeping violations for up to five years.
The BCTGM intends to continue fighting to maintain the Rule because it is so important to the workplace health and safety of our members.