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OSHA Issues New Injury, Illness Reporting Requirements

OSHA Issues New Injury, Illness Reporting Requirements

Agency expands nature, number of reportable injuries; revises list of exempt employers, industries Eight-hour window Timed to 2013 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Takes effect January 1, 2015

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule in it is revision to workplace injury and illness reporting requirements for employers. The initiative was announced first in November 2013, and concerns incidents involving employees killed or requiring hospitalization as a result of work-related injury or illness.  

The new rule requires employers to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and of work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.

The new rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements. To assist employers in complying with the new requirements, OSHA is developing a Web portal that employers will use to report incidents electronically. A phone-reporting option remains available, too.

The new rule takes effect on January 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

OSHA issued the new rule following the release of the preliminary 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’

“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy,” stated U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them.”

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act are required to comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements -- even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records.

Also, the new list is based the North American Industry Classification System (not the outdated Standard Industrial Classification system) and on updated injury and illness data from BLS.

The new rule continues to exempt any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.

“Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment,” stated Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

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