As we previously noted in late 2014, OSHA implemented a new mandatory reporting requirement which would require employers to report to OSHA within 24 hours if a single employee was hospitalized overnight. Previously, an employer was only required to report this if three (3) or more employees were hospitalized overnight. The new regulations also required the mandatory reporting of any amputation or loss of an eye within 24 hours. As before, workplace fatalities have to be reported within eight hours. These new regulations became effective Jan. 1, 2015, for federal OSHA states and are being phased in over time in state plan states. For example, in Indiana, this became effective on March 1, 2015.
Recently, OSHA announced at the National Safety Council Congress meeting that it has received 200-250 mandatory reports weekly from employers since the first of the year. Of those, 37 percent of have resulted in site inspections. This is even more significant given the Justice Department’s September announcement that they would begin pushing for the criminal prosecution of individuals, as well as the companies for which they work for criminal violations of OSHA safety requirements which result in death of an employee due to a willful violation. Employers should be proactively reviewing current safety policies and auditing employee compliance with the policies to ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.