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OSHA Delays Effective Date of Anti-Retaliation Provisions

Enforcement of the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) anti-retaliation provisions has been pushed back to December 1, 2016. Initially intended to be effective August 10, 2016, the provisions were originally delayed until November 1, 2016. OSHA agreed to this second delay in light of a legal challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

When the anti-retaliation provisions go into effect, the rules will require employers to do the following:

  • Inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses without retaliation;
  • Have a procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses that is reasonable and does not deter or discourage employees from reporting;
  • Refrain from retaliating against employees for reporting.

While this rule does not prohibit incentive programs, employers must not create incentive programs that deter or discourage an employee from reporting an injury or illness (such as offering bonuses for low reporting rates). If used, incentive programs should encourage safe work practices and promote worker participation in safety-related activities.

In addition, automatic post-injury drug testing will be under more scrutiny and will likely be considered retaliatory unless it is done pursuant to state or federal law. The rules do not prohibit post-accident drug testing on a case-by-case basis, such as when an employer has reasonable suspicion that an employee was under the influence at the time of an accident.

Content provided by TPC HR Support Center.