House Democrats move to strengthen OSHA, whistleblower regulations

February 11, 2019
In The News

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a disapproval resolution against a new regulation rolling back portions of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s electronic record-keeping rule and to provide additional protections for whistleblowers.

H.J. Res. 44, introduced by Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., on Friday, would disapprove of the final OSHA rule called Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses published by the agency on Jan. 25, meaning the rule would not take effect if the resolution was jointly adopted by both houses of Congress.

The Congressional Review Act gives Congress 60 legislative days to disapprove of any regulation. This statute has been previously utilized to disapprove OSHA regulations, including the 2017 resolution of disapproval that targeted the agency’s rule that aimed to clarify that employers have a continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness for five years. But such an action requires a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress, and Republicans maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., introduced H.R. 1974 on Thursday to amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to expand coverage under the statute, increase protections for whistleblowers, increase penalties for high-gravity violations, adjust penalties for inflation and provide rights for victims or their family members, according to a bill summary.