The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will celebrate 2015 by implementing new regulations relating to an employer’s duty to report work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The new regulations go into effect on January 1, 2015 for all workplaces that fall under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
OSHA will continue to require covered employers to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours of the event. But employers must also report all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and all losses of an eye to OSHA within 24 hours. Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported to OSHA. Likewise, for inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, they must only be reported to OSHA if they occur within 24-hours of a work-related incident.
The previous regulation only required employers to report in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. This old rule was designed to help employers differentiate work-related and non-work-related injuries, as it was thought to be unlikely that three or more employees would require hospitalization from a non-work-related event. However, under the new regulation employers will be required to report every work-related in-patient hospitalization.
This means that when an employee leaves work and is admitted to the hospital, the employer will need to conduct a thorough and swift investigation to determine whether or not the hospitalization was caused by a work-related incident. Making this decision could be particularly tricky at times. For example, the employer must now make a determination as to whether or not a heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.
Furthermore, the new regulations will require nearly 200,000 employers to start keeping injury records. Currently, certain covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. Many low-hazard employers, however, were partially exempt from keeping these OSHA records. The new regulations revise and narrow the industries that will be partially exempt. For example, liquor stores, specialty food stores, building material and supplies dealers, automobile dealers, museums, performing arts companies, and historical sites are now required to keep OSHA records. For a complete list of industries newly required to keep records, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/reporting_industries.html