DALLAS—A coalition of business and manufacturing interests has won a preliminary injunction against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to delay enforcement of certain parts of a new workplace injury reporting rule.
A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an injunction July 13 delaying enforcement of provisions in the final rule prohibiting “incident-based” employer safety incentive programs and routine mandatory post-incident drug testing programs.
The coalition—whose members include the National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers and miscellaneous companies—seek a court order vacating these provisions in the OSHA standard. They said the provisions would cause “irreparable harm to Plaintiffs' members and insureds, and many thousands of employers across the country.”
Published in the May 12 Federal Register and corrected May 20, the OSHA rule requires employers in certain industries to submit to the agency injury and illness data electronically they are already required to collect.
OSHA will then post the data it receives on a publicly accessible website, according to the language in the final rule. The frequency and content of data submissions depend on the industry and the size of the employer, it said.
The rule becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017, except for the prohibitions on incident-based incentive programs and mandatory drug testing, which OSHA gave an effective date of Aug. 10, 2016. The injunction delays that effective date until Nov. 1, 2016.
In its court brief, the coalition said incident-based safety programs and mandatory drug testing demonstrably help employers maintain safe workplaces.
“Instead, the new rule declared incident-based safety incentive programs and post-accident drug testing programs to be unlawfully ‘retaliatory,' even though these programs make workplaces safer, and even though there is no scientific evidence that the safety programs cause any material reduction in reporting of workplace illnesses or injuries.”
In a statement after the preliminary injunction was issued, Linda Kelly, NAM senior vice president and general counsel, said the court action reaffirms that OSHA lacks the statutory authority to enforce the new rule.
“Manufacturers take pride in creating safe workplaces and are supportive of regulations that increase transparency, but this regulation does neither,” Kelly said.