There’s now a question whether OSHA’s new injury and illness recordkeeping requirements, years in the making and scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2002, will in fact take effect on that date.

“OSHA has pulled from the Office of Management and Budget its documents covering the paperwork burden posed by the recordkeeping standard,” said an OSHA spokesperson. “The paperwork issues being considered are in line with the overall review of the recordkeeping standard (now being conducted within the Department of Labor). Andrew Card, President Bush’s chief of staff, ordered the review of all regulations promulgated by the previous administration and not yet in effect.”

OSHA’s revised recordkeeping rules were published January 18, 2001, two days before President Clinton left office.

In a lawsuit challenging the rules filed by the National Association of Manufacturers in March, NAM argued that a 60-day delay issued by the Bush administration on all regs released in the last days of the Clinton era pushed the effective date of the recordkeeping standard back to March 1, 2002.

But at the moment, all bets are off.

“It’s unclear at this point whether the new rules will go into effect next January,” said the OSHA spokesperson. “We just don’t know. I know that’s an unsatisfactory answer, but it’s all up in the air.”