What You Should Know About OSHA’s New Rules for Reporting Workplace Injuries
In September of 2014, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced changes to their rules about recordkeeping and reporting work-related injuries and fatalities. The new rules went into effect on January 1, 2015.
Under OSHA’s new rules, employers are required to report all work related fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations of one or more people, amputations, and eye losses. Employers are also required to report fatalities within eight hours of becoming aware of it and to report hospitalizations, amputations, and eye losses within 24 hours of being informed. Under the previous rules, employers were only required to report work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Employers are also now required to report deaths if it occurs within 30 days of a workplace accident. If a worker is hospitalized, loses an eye, or has limb amputated within 24 hours of a work-related accident, it must be reported within 8 hours of learning about it. Hospitalizations for observation or diagnostic purposes are not required to be reported.
To report an incident, the employer must either call their local OSHA office, call 1-800-321-OSHA, or submit a report online using an online form on OSHA’s website, which will be available soon. If you are unable to reach your local OSHA office during business hours, call the 800 number, which is open 24 hours a day, instead. Sending a fax or e-mail to your local OSHA office or leaving a voicemail are not accepted ways to make a report.
When making a report, be ready to provide the name of your establishment, the location of the incident, the time of the incident, what type of incident it was (amputation, hospitalization, etc.), how many people were impacted by the event, the injured or deceased person’s name, a description of the incident, and the name and contact information for the person at your establishment OSHA should contact.
OSHA’s new rules also included changes regarding which industries are partially exempt from keeping routine OSHA records about workplace injuries and illnesses. These industries are exempt due to their low-risk nature. A partially exempt company is not required to keep routine OSHA records about workplace injuries and illnesses unless unless specifically told to do so by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the updated list, many industries previously partially exempt from keeping these records are now required to do so. If you are unsure whether or not your company has been impacted by the new rules, contact your local OSHA office or consult this list of industries currently partially exempt.
Companies that currently employ 10 or fewer employees and have done so for the past calendar year are also partially exempt from keeping routine workplace injury records, regardless of industry. This exemption still stands under the updated rules.
It’s very important to note that even if your company is partially exempt from keeping OSHA records, this doesn’t mean you are exempt from reporting work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, or eye losses within the specified amounts of time. These new rules extend to all companies, regardless of partial exemption status.