Late on Monday, April 3, 2017, President Trump signed new legislation that lessens reporting requirements for employers when their employees get sick or hurt while on the job.
Last month, Congress voted to use the Congressional Review Act to repeal regulations introduced under the previous administration that required employers in dangerous industries to keep accurate records of injuries suffered by their workers for five years. Under the new regulations, they only need to keep those records on file for six months.
Former Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy adviser Debbie Berkowitz commented on the rollback, saying that:
“This will give license to employers to keep fraudulent records and to willfully violate the law with impunity.”
Berkowitz, who now works for the National Employment Law Project, as well as other workplace safety experts, believes that this change in regulation will allow some employers to conceal persistent hazards from regulators by altering their injury data.
OSHA regulations had required employers in high-hazard industries to keep accurate records of injuries sustained by workers dating back five years. OSHA uses this information to better understand where to deploy their resources in order to combat recurring problems – failure to accurately record this data may result in penalties. However, a 2012 ruling stated that OSHA only has six months to issue a citation. Former officials stated that they interpreted the law to mean they had five years to hold employers accountable, which is why the previous administration clarified the five-year window with their now-repealed regulation.
“Please note that the change in Federal law does nothing to change the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation law which requires all New Jersey employers to have Worker’s Compensation insurance, and to report injuries to the insurance carrier if an employee is hurt at work," said Levinson Axelrod attorney Todd Wachtel. "At that point, the carrier would be responsible for related medical treatment, payments while you are out of work for the related injury, and payments of additional benefits if there is a permanent injury."
Our attorneys as Levinson Axelrod are committed to protecting the rights of injured workers, no matter what new legislation is introduced. Laws have changed dramatically since we first opened our doors nearly 80 years ago, and we have successfully adapted with the times in order to best serve our client’s needs. Through our efforts, we have secured more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements and will continue to fight for those in need for as long as our doors remain open. Give us a call at (732) 440-3089 to tell us more about your situation, or send us the details of your case through our online form.