Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Recordkeeping Rule Holds Top Executives Accountable. (OSHA)

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Recordkeeping Rule Holds Top Executives Accountable. (OSHA)

Article excerpt

It might be time for executives to go back to school to learn about OSHA's revised recordkeeping standard, since they can be held accountable for any mistakes or falsifications in injury and illness logs.

As of Feb. 1, employers must designate someone at the company to certify the annual summary of work-related injuries and illnesses. In the past, OSHA required certification only by the person who actually kept the injury log throughout the year, such as the occupational safety and health professional or a human resources manager.

The new law is very specific about the definition of a company executive: an owner of the company (only if the company is a sole proprietorship or partnership); an officer of the company; the highest ranking official working at the establishment; or the immediate supervisor of the highest ranking official working at the establishment.

Paul S. Maco, an attorney with Houston-based law firm Vinson & Elkins, notes much has been written about the provisions in the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which makes executives more accountable for the accuracy of their firm's SEC disclosures. He points out that "what has received less attention, but could be even more important to many executives, is OSHA's new recordkeeping accountability provisions. …

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