OSHA issued a new rule last week related to the statute of limitations for recordkeeping violations. For those of you scratching your head and wondering what is a "statute of limitations", it is simply a time limit. Prior to the issuance of the new rule, OSHA could only cite an employer for a recordkeeping failure in the six month period following the error. The new rule moves that time limit out to five years. This basically means that errors in your recordkeeping practices can now result in a citation for up to five years after the error.
As an example, Frosty the Elf sustains an injury on 12/24/2016 loading Santa's sleigh. North Pole Industries does not have a full-time HR person and Mrs. Claus fails to record the injury in the logs. Under the old rules, if OSHA did not discover the error prior to June 24, 2017, North Pole Industries was in the clear. Under the new rule, Mrs. Claus' mistake can now be the basis of a citation until December 23, 2021.
The new rule takes effect on January 18, 2017. While the rule has been issued, it is possible the incoming Trump Administration will change directions or Congress may take action to block the rule. Stay tuned as we move into 2017.