OSHA updates reporting rules for fatalities, injuries, illnesses

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be enforcing a new final rule regarding the reporting of work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the new rule requires employers to report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours, and report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours.

Currently, employers are required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours, but they only need to report in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours of the event.

In a press call, David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, OSHA assistant secretary of labor, explained the primary intent of the updated reporting rules.

"We believe this updated rule will help reduce this unacceptably high number of injuries," Michaels said. "The updated recordkeeping and reporting requirements are not simply paperwork but have an important, in fact life-saving purpose: they will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards - ones that have already caused injuries to occur."

Additional details of the new injury reporting rule

Additional specifics of the new reporting rules, according to the National Law Review, include:

  • Work-related fatalities must be reported within eight hours, but only if the fatality occurs within 30 days of the incident.
  • Work-related in-patient hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours, but only if the hospitalization occurs within 24 hours of the incident.
  • Amputations must be reported within 24 hours, but only if the amputation occurs within 24 hours of the incident.
  • Work-related loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours, but only if the loss occurs within 24 hours of the incident.

On the OSHA website, the organization offered definitions of key terms to ensure that employers understand the new rules. These definitions include:

  • Amputation: An amputation is the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions (tissue torn away from the body), enucleations (removal of the eyeball), deglovings (skin torn away from the underlying tissue), scalpings (removal of the scalp), severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.
  • In-patient hospitalization: OSHA defines in-patient hospitalization as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

More information

Learn more about the impending rule changes at OSHA's website.

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