Effective January 1, 2015, all employers under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident.
The agency has been proactive in getting the word out, hosting a Twitter chat and blogging about the changes to remind employers of the new reporting requirements.
“Work-related fatalities must be reported within eight hours of finding out that a worker has been killed,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
The federal agency noted that even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records due to company size – such as companies with 10 or fewer employees who do not have to routinely keep injury and illness records – or industry must comply with the new reporting guidelines.
Previously, employers only had to report all work-related fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees involved in the same incident.
There are some circumstances that are exempt from the reporting requirements:
- Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported.
- For an inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, incidents must be reported to OSHA only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.
- If an injury resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway, except in a construction work zone; employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone.
- If an injury occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, street car, light rail, train).
- If the injury occurred more than 30 days after the work-related incident in the case of a fatality or more than 24 hours after the work-related incident in the case of an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.
- Employers do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization if it was for diagnostic testing or observation only. An in-patient hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.
- Employers do have to report an in-patient hospitalization due to a heart attack, if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.
According to the safety agency, the updated reporting requirements are meant to enhance safety and prevent future injuries by assisting employers and workers in identifying and eliminating workplace hazards.
OSHA provided an outline of the information required at reporting:
- The establishment name;
- The location of the work-related incident;
- The time of the work-related incident;
- The type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye);
- The number of employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
- The names of the employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
- Your contact person and his or her phone number; and
- A brief description of the work-related incident.
There are three ways for employers to notify OSHA:
- Contact their nearest OSHA area office during normal business hours.
- Call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
- Report the incident online at www.osha.gov/report_online.
According to the federal safety agency, if the local office is closed, an employer should report the incident by contacting the 800 number or reporting it on the website.
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