OSHA announces new worker fatality and injury reporting rules

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced changes to fatality and injury reporting requirement for employers. In addition to making safety a priority in the workplace, employers may want to stay abreast of changes to rules or regulations affecting their businesses and employees.

OSHA outlined the major revisions to the reporting regulations in a press release. The previous regulations required employers to report work-related fatalities and inpatient hospitalizations for three employees or more. The new regulations, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, require employers to report all occupational fatalities within eight hours. In addition, employers will be required to notify OSHA if an employee is hospitalized, has a limb amputated or loses an eye within 24 hours.

While some organizations are exempt from routinely maintaining records of worker injuries and illnesses, OSHA explained that all organizations will be required to report fatalities and the severe injuries listed above. Along with the revised rule, OSHA has updated its list of businesses that aren’t required to track minor injuries and illnesses.

To help employers meet the reporting requirements, OSHA is creating a Web portal through which business owners can submit fatality and serious injury information online. Employers will still have the ability to submit these reports at OSHA facilities and by calling OSHA’s toll-free number as well.

Preventing fatalities and serious injuries
In a separate press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated 4,405 work-related fatalities occurred in 2013. While this number is slightly lower than the 4,628 recorded in 2012 by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), it still sheds light on an important concern among U.S. employers and labor organizations.

“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,” Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in the BLS release.

Thomas Perez, the U.S. secretary of labor, voiced a similar message in the OSHA release, stating that more can be done to keep workers safe.

Employers may consider reviewing their current safety practices to determine whether improvements can be made to better protect employees from injuries. In addition, it may be a good idea to conduct consistent safety training, ensuring workers have the resources they need to remain secure and healthy on the job.

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