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The Legislative Report blog provides timely information on federal and state legislation and regulations and state trends as well as the myriad issues affecting the private club industry. A companion to CMAA's Legislative website, this resource should be your first stop for any information regarding legal, tax or legislative club-specific issues.

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OSHA Clarifies Employer’s Recordkeeping Obligations in New Rule

(OSHA) Permanent link

On Monday, December 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule designed to clarify an employer's continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness. The final rule does not add any new compliance obligations for employers or change any existing reporting requirements. The final rule is slated to become effective January 18, 2017.

OSHA has long held the position that an employer’s duty to record an injury or illness continues for the full five-year required record-retention period, and this position has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in cases dating back to 1993. This final rule comes in opposition to litigation dating from 2012 which reversed the Commission’s findings.


So what does this mean for a club? Generally, workplace violations are subject to citations and penalties for up to six months after the last instance of employee exposure to the unsafe condition. However, through this rule, OSHA is deeming failure to report the issue as an ongoing violation and thus employers could be fined up to five years from the date of the unreported injury or illness. In essence, OSHA is extending the statute of limitations from six months to five years.


For example, a worker suffers an injury at the club on January 1, 2017, while working in the kitchen that requires medical attention. The club fails to report it to OSHA and record it on OSHA 300 log. Under the new rule, the club could be fined and cited through January 1, 2022, for this omission and the unsafe conditions (if they existed). Previously, the club could have only been cited until July 1, 2017.


Given the ongoing Presidential transition, this rule could be reviewed by the incoming Administration as well as the new Congress when they return in January. Due to the timing of its issuance, it would be subject to the Congressional Review Act.  


OSHA Clarifies Employer’s Recordkeeping Obligations in New Rule

(OSHA) Permanent link

On Monday, December 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule designed to clarify an employer's continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness. The final rule does not add any new compliance obligations for employers or change any existing reporting requirements. The final rule is slated to become effective January 18, 2017.

OSHA has long held the position that an employer’s duty to record an injury or illness continues for the full five-year required record-retention period, and this position has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in cases dating back to 1993. This final rule comes in opposition to litigation dating from 2012 which reversed the Commission’s findings.


So what does this mean for a club? Generally, workplace violations are subject to citations and penalties for up to six months after the last instance of employee exposure to the unsafe condition. However, through this rule, OSHA is deeming failure to report the issue as an ongoing violation and thus employers could be fined up to five years from the date of the unreported injury or illness. In essence, OSHA is extending the statute of limitations from six months to five years.


For example, a worker suffers an injury at the club on January 1, 2017, while working in the kitchen that requires medical attention. The club fails to report it to OSHA and record it on OSHA 300 log. Under the new rule, the club could be fined and cited through January 1, 2022, for this omission and the unsafe conditions (if they existed). Previously, the club could have only been cited until July 1, 2017.


Given the ongoing Presidential transition, this rule could be reviewed by the incoming Administration as well as the new Congress when they return in January. Due to the timing of its issuance, it would be subject to the Congressional Review Act.  


Keep Your Employees Safe This Winter

(OSHA) Permanent link

Cold weather came early this year and many parts of the country have already experienced snow, ice and freezing rain. Despite the outside conditions, many club employees have to get their jobs done. Take time to remind your employees about cold weather hazards. Working in cold weather can be just as dangerous as working in excessively warm weather.  


Use these OSHA training resources to keep your employees safe this winter:



Share these resources with supervisors and employees at your club!


Keep Your Employees Safe This Winter

(OSHA) Permanent link

Cold weather came early this year and many parts of the country have already experienced snow, ice and freezing rain. Despite the outside conditions, many club employees have to get their jobs done. Take time to remind your employees about cold weather hazards. Working in cold weather can be just as dangerous as working in excessively warm weather.  


Use these OSHA training resources to keep your employees safe this winter:



Share these resources with supervisors and employees at your club!


OSHA Anti-Retaliation Regulations Effective December 1

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

As we reported in May, OSHA has instituted new anti-retaliation protection provisions in conjunction with new reporting requirements. The rule prohibits all employers from discouraging workers from reporting a work-related injury or illness. 

The final rules regarding anti-retaliation were originally slated to become effective August 10, but were delayed until December 1, 2016, in an effort by OSHA to provide more compliance information to employers. 

The rule does not ban appropriate disciplinary, incentive or drug-testing programs. However, it allows OSHA to issue citations for retaliatory actions against workers when these programs are used to discourage workers from exercising their right to report workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers should review their current reporting procedures, programs and policies for elements that may result in retaliatory actions against an employee for reporting an injury or illness.

Review this helpful compliance information including sample scenarios to ensure your club’s safety programs are on target. 

  • Disciplinary Programs
  • Incentive Programs
  • Drug Testing Programs

OSHA Anti-Retaliation Protection Regulations On Hold Until November 1

(OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link

OSHA safety equipment

In May, OSHA announced new anti-retaliation protection provisions in conjunction with new reporting requirements. The rule prohibits all employers from discouraging workers from reporting a work-related injury or illness. Under the rules:

  

  • Employers must inform employees of their right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation. OSHA defines retaliation as “termination, reduction in pay, reassignment to a less desirable position, or any other adverse action.” Clubs should be posting OSHA "It's The Law" worker rights poster (edition April 2015 or later). 
  • Employers also must establish a reporting procedure that does not deter or discourage an employee from reporting work-related injuries and illnesses. These should not be cumbersome or burdensome to the employee.  
  • Lastly, the rule clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable, and cannot in anyway deter or discourage employees from reporting such instances. The rule also delved into workplace safety incentive programs and how these should be an area of concern if they have the effect of dissuading the reporting of injuries and illnesses. 

The final rules regarding anti-retaliation were slated to become effective August 10, but are now delayed until November 1, 2016. OSHA announced the delay in enforcement in an effort to provide more compliance information to employers. 

Meanwhile, several business groups have challenged the legality of the rule in the US District Court and requested an emergency injunction to stop it from becoming effective.

It is important to note that the employer reporting requirements were not delayed and will become effective as scheduled. 

DOL and OSHA Are Increasing Fines Beginning August 1

(Dept of Labor, OSHA, Regulation) Permanent link


Osha - Safety Warning SignBeginning August 1, employers and businesses will pay more for fines relating to violations of federal labor laws. Pursuant to the 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act, federal agencies are required to adjust the fines based on inflation annually. In addition, this summer the agencies are allowed to make larger increases in an effort to “catch up” to prevailing rates.

For example, the maximum fine for failing to meet the OSHA posting requirement will now increase from $7,000 to $12,471. This requirement mandates that employers post OSHA notices informing employees of their rights under federal law in conspicuous places such as the OSHA Job Safety and Health: It's the Law poster.

Earlier this year, OSHA increased the fines for injury reporting requirements.

For the full list of updated fines, visit https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/2016-inflation-penalty-chart.pdf.