OSHA today announced a final rule requiring employers to notify the agency when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
"OSHA will now receive crucial reports of fatalities and severe work-related injuries and illnesses that will significantly enhance the agency’s ability to target our resources to save lives and prevent further injury and illness," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "This new data will enable the agency to identify the workplaces where workers are at the greatest risk and target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources accordingly."
The announcement follows preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
What has changed
Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA’s regulations 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 under the previous rule.
All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 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 in fulfilling these requirements, OSHA is developing a Web portal for employers to report incidents electronically, in addition to the phone reporting options.
Data will be on OSHA's website
Michaels noted that the reports, like other data obtained by OSHA, will be available to the public online. According to Michaels, the information will help target resources and will provide information to prevent future injuries based on hazards that have already caused harm.
Although OSHA will not send inspectors to every site where a fatality or severe injury occurs, Michaels said the agency is working on a way to “engage” with employers involved in these incidents. He anticipated tens of thousands of reports within the first year of the change. OSHA is developing a web portal for electronic reporting of these incidents, in addition to phone options.
“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,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
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 and the new rule uses the North American Industry Classification System to classify establishments by industry. The new list is based on updated injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.
For more information about the new rule, visit OSHA’s website at http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014.