The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced that it will delay the enforcement of the employee rights provisions under its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.
Under 29 CFR 1904.35, the new final rule prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. Employers are required to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, and may not deter or discourage employees from reporting such claims. The final rule also incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions were originally scheduled to become effective August 10, 2016.
OSHA decided to delay enforcement of these provisions until November 1, 2016, and is preparing additional educational materials to help employers comply with the new regulations. Some have observed confusion in the application of the new final rule and its impact on certain post-accident drug testing and safety incentive programs which might run afoul of its provisions.