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Manufacturers suing OSHA over workplace protection rule

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is mounting a court challenge against the Labor Department’s new workplace injury and illness rule.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued new requirements in May for manufacturers to report all workplace injuries and illnesses. But industry groups say it would “put a target” on their back.

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The NAM filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to block the rule in federal court.

“The Department of Labor is putting a target on nearly every manufacturer in this country by moving this regulation forward,” said Linda Kelly, the NAM’s senior vice president and general counsel. "Not only does OSHA lack statutory authority to enforce this rule, but the agency has also failed to recognize the infeasibility, costs and real-world impacts of what it preposterously suggests is just a mere tweak to a major regulation.”

The Labor Department’s rule would require companies, particularly those in manufacturing and construction, to report all workplace injuries and illnesses online, where they are publicly available.

Companies are already required to report the information to the Labor Department, but the agency says the added transparency will give them more reason to increase workplace safety.

Manufacturers argue "releasing this information will lead others to make inaccurate conclusions, will open manufacturers up to retaliation and will sacrifice employee and employer privacy."

The NAM filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.