OSHA’s New Reporting Rules Lead to Better Focus on Employers, Resources

April 15, 2016

One year after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new reporting requirements went into effect, the agency reports that prompt reporting has allowed them to connect with employers it otherwise might never had contact with, said David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

The new rules, which went into effect on January 1, 2015, require employers to report severe work-related injuries within 24 hours.

The purpose for the new reporting requirements was twofold: it allowed the agency to better target compliance and enforcement efforts to workplaces where workers were at greatest risk and to engage high hazard employers to identify and eliminate serious hazards.

According to the report, during the full year of the new reporting requirement, employers reported 10,388 severe injuries. Also reported were 7636 hospitalizations and 2644 amputations.

Severe Injury Reports 2015
Injury types RRI Inspection
Amputation 41.34% 58.66%
Hospitalization 69.46% 30.54%
Total 62.13% 37.87%

The top three industries resulting in injuries requiring hospitalization were:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Construction
  3. Transportation and Warehousing

According to Michaels, who authored the report, the new rules allow employers to investigate incidents with the agency offering preventative tips to avoid future injuries. The collaborative process is known as Rapid Response Investigation. As a result, the agency responded to a third of all of the reported injuries and 58 percent of the amputations reports.

The agency deemed the results a success, according to OSHA, “the requirement met its intended goals of helping OSHA focus resources where they are most needed, and engaging employers in high-hazard industries to identify and eliminate hazards.”

In fact, the new reporting requirements led to the agency spotting a trend – flood slicer amputations. OSHA’s southeast regional office received a number of reports of workers at grocery store delis and restaurants sustaining fingertip amputations. The office mobilized staff and contacted food service employees across the eight states covered by the regional office. They provided information on the hazards and tips to make the process safer for workers.

The agency plans to continue to make modifications where it sees fit.

“OSHA will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness,” Dr. Michaels wrote in the report. “And we are seeking new ways to make sure that small employers know about their reporting obligations and the resources available to them.”

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