OSHA tallies safety gains at severe injury reporting requirement’s one-year mark

Sources: Occupational Safety & Health Administration; CP staff

In the first year of a new reporting requirement for severe work-related injuries, companies notified OSHA of 10,000-plus incidents, spurring opportunities for the agency to work with employers to eliminate hazards and protect other workers. Since January 2015, employers have been required to report any injury involving hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours, and continued to be bound by an eight-hour limit for workplace fatality reporting.

In the program’s inaugural year, employers reported incidents surrounding 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations; OSHA responded to a majority of the cases by working with the employer to identify and eliminate hazards, rather than conducting a site inspection. “The prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn’t have had contact with otherwise,” says Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels. “The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers.”

Dr. Michaels’ just-published Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation breaks out the top 25 reporting industries. True to an initial goal, it finds the reporting requirement has a) positioned the agency to better target resources where they are needed, and b) engage employers in high-hazard industries to identify and eliminate hazards. “OSHA will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness,” he writes. “We are also seeking new ways to make sure that small employers know about their reporting obligations and resources available to them.”

Year One of OSHA’s Severe Injury Reporting Program: An Impact Evaluation is available here.