TX Court Clears Way for OSHA’s New Electronic Record-Keeping Rule


On November 28, 2016, the federal district court Judge in the Northern District of Texas hearing Industry’s legal challenge to the anti-retaliation portions of OSHA’s new electronic recordkeeping rule (i.e., limits on injury reporting requirements, post-incident drug testing, and safety incentive programs), issued an Order denying Industry’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have prohibited OSHA from enforcing these controversial new provisions.

The Court’s Order clears the way for the new provisions to become effective and enforceable as of December 1, 2016.

The rule adds new language to OSHA’s injury and illness recordkeeping regulation at 29 C.F.R. 1904.35(b)(1):

“Reasonable procedure for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. . . .  [A reporting procedure] is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.”

A review of Judge Lindsay’s 17-page Opinion accompanying his decision makes clear that the Court’s denial of the preliminary injunction motion does not reflect the Judge’s overall view of the merits or strength of Industry’s underlying legal challenge to the Rule.