In July 2016, several trade associations and others (“plaintiffs”) filed suit against OSHA challenging the agency’s anti-retaliation provisions in the final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses (81 Fed. Reg. 29,624) (May 12, 2016). The legal challenge alleged the final rule exceeded OSHA’s statutory authority, violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and requested the Court to declare the final Rule unlawful and set it aside.
Additionally, the plaintiff’s also requested a nationwide preliminary injunction to permanently delay the effective date of the standard until a decision is reached in the case. Yesterday, the Court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm would be incurred without an injunction or that an injunction was necessary to protect the public interest.
The impact of this decision is that employers will have to begin to comply with OSHA’s new rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses by December 1, 2016. The “anti-retaliation” provisions set out in sections 1904.35 and 1904.36(b)(1) are effective December 1, 2016 and the remaining provisions pertaining to the electronic submission of recordkeeping information in section 1904.41 are effective January 1, 2017 with the first electronic submission due by July 1, 2017.
A decision on the merits of the legal challenge and the validity of the final Rule has not yet been made.