In July of 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that a new list of electronic reporting rules would go into effect on January 1, 2017. To pave the way for these new rules, a section called the anti-retaliation laws was supposed to go into effect on August 10, 2016. But when OSHA started getting a deluge of questions about the anti-retaliation laws, it decided to push them back to November 1, 2016.
A few weeks ago, OSHA announced that it would push the anti-retaliation laws back to December 1, 2016, so the agency could review information in a lawsuit being filed in Texas that challenges the entire list of new electronic reporting rules. Construction industry advocates continue to cry foul about the new laws, but OSHA is convinced that this most recent delay is the last one and it will not change the laws when they are released.
What Are The Anti-Retaliation Laws?
The anti-retaliation laws are designed to encourage construction workers to report accidents and safety violations without fear of retaliation from their company. The two areas the laws specify are post-accident drug tests and safety incentives. According to OSHA, workers fear being fired if they have to submit to a drug test after an accident, and they also fear for their safety if their accident was the one that caused the entire company to lose out on a financial incentive for safety.
Why Don’t Contractors Like These Anti-Retaliation Laws?
Construction companies insist that post-accident drug tests are mandatory to maintain a safe workplace, and that safety incentives are powerful ways to make sure that employees are mindful of all safety rules on a job site. Construction companies also do not want to take on the costs of having to revamp their safety policies to satisfy a law that they feel is counterproductive.
Contractors all over the country, including groups such as the Associate Builders and Contractors, have filed lawsuits to stop the new laws from going into effect. While OSHA has delayed implementation of the anti-retaliation laws to review the information revealed in a Texas lawsuit, there is no indication that there will be any further deadline extensions or any changes to the laws when they do go into effect.
This entire list of new electronic reporting laws is being challenged by contractors, especially the law known as the “Black List” law. It is a law that requires all contractors to submit all safety violations and notices to OSHA to be used during the process of bidding on federal jobs over $25 million in value. Most contractors do not keep track of their safety violations and having to do all of the research to satisfy this new law will cost contractors millions.
Contractors are also complaining about the provision in the new reporting law that makes safety violations and citations public information. Contractors are afraid that any job owner will be able to see this information and deny work to contractors based on their perceived safety record.
OSHA has set up its anti-retaliation law so that it can be enforced even if there is no accident or safety violation on a job site. OSHA can review a company’s safety policies and fine the company based on whether or not the company is intimidating employees into not reporting accidents or safety violations.
When you start a course with PDH Contractors, you can keep up with all of these administrative changes and keep your company ahead of the curve. Run your construction business with more efficiency when you utilize the information available from PDH Contractors.