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OSHA tightens timelines for reporting severe injuries, fatalities

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

A revised rule, effective January 2015, details new deadlines for employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, and updates the list of employers partially exempt from agency record-keeping requirements.

Announcement of the rule dovetailed release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, whose preliminary results indicate that 4,405 workers were killed on the job last year. “We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas 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.”

Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify the agency of work-related fatalities within eight hours and in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. OSHA previously 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.

All Occupational Safety and Health Act-covered employers, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA's new severe injury and illness reporting requirements. To assist employers, OSHA is developing a Web portal for reporting incidents electronically, in addition to phone reporting options.

In addition to the new reporting requirements, OSHA has also updated the list of industries that, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates, are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records. The previous list of exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial
Classification system; the new rule uses the North American Industry Classification System. The new list is based on updated Bureau of Labor Statistics injury and illness data. The new rule maintains the exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses. Additional information can be obtained at here.