NPR, March 20, 2017
Nell Greenfieldboyce


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[...] If employers' logs are inaccurate, or fake, they can be fined. But in 2012, there was a big change that made it a lot harder for the government to punish companies for bad logs. A court ruled that if a worker got injured — maybe burned, or cut — and that injury didn't make it into the log, the government has only six months to check the log and issue a fine.

Michaels says there just aren't enough safety inspectors to catch problems that fast. And the effect of this change has been dramatic — citations for bad record-keeping have dropped by about 75 percent.

"Enforcement actions around record keeping are way down," he says. "And the big cases that OSHA used to have where they could issue fines because an employer had not recorded dozens of injuries — they've essentially disappeared."

So, government officials wrote up a new regulation, to basically put things back the way they'd been for the agency's first four decades; that rule was finalized late last year.

But a slew of industry groups oppose it. [...]

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