Employers in North Carolina have an obligation to keep a record of all of the work-related illnesses and injuries that affect their employees. A final rule recently issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has specified that this responsibility is ongoing and doesn’t go away if an employer fails to properly record the incident when first required to do so.
The amendments to the rule don’t include any new requirements for compliance or injury or illness recordkeeping that don’t have an existing mandate. However, they do include modifications to the titles of certain sections and subparts as well as the text of the provisions.
The amended rule is a reaction to 2012 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The court ruled that citations that were issued by OSHA for recordkeeping violations are required to be issued no later than six months after a purported failure to note a workplace illness or injury. The ruling resulted in a reversal of OSHA’s position that the organization had five years and six months to issue a citation. Five years covered the period that the record of the injury would have to be maintained, and the six months was the statute of limitations. The updated rule states that OSHA agreed that the fact that the recordkeeping obligations were unending had been unclear.
Workers’ compensation is intended for employees who are injured on the job and can be used for rehabilitation and lost wages. An attorney may assist an injured worker through the workers’ compensation claims process, which could include appeals for benefits that have been unfairly denied. The attorney may file suits if unsafe working conditions or other negligent behavior by the employer contributed to a worker’s injury or illness.