Court: OSHA Can Subpoena WC Records
A federal court has upheld a subpoena issued by OSHA requesting documents from an employer’s workers’ compensation carrier following a fatal accident at a grain elevator.
Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co. had completed investigations and reports for Haasbach LLC after two workers were killed in a grain engulfment in Illinois. Grinnell contended that the subpoena would discourage businesses from allowing an insurer to conduct inspections if the material contained in the inspection reports could be used against the business during later litigation or OSHA enforcement proceedings. The court ordered that the records be given to OSHA.
The court ruled that OSHA has the authority to require the production of relevant evidence and the ability to issue a subpoena to obtain that evidence. The requested documents, which included copies of the site safety inspections, applications for insurance coverage for the site, and correspondence between Grinnell and Haasbach concerning the site, were found to “reasonably relate to the investigation of the incident,” according to the decision.
Haasbach was issued 25 citations by OSHA with a penalty of $555,000.
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