On January 1, 2015, the new injury and illness reporting requirements went into effect requiring employers to report to OSHA fatalities as a result of a work-related incident within 8 hours, and in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye as a result of a work-related incident within 24 hours. The new reporting requirement allowed employers to report to OSHA by:
- Calling OSHA’s free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
- Calling your closest Area Office during normal business hours.
- Using the new online form.
The online form has only recently become available as a method of reporting. The “Serious Event Reporting Online Form” can now be found at https://www.osha.gov/report.html . States under Federal OSHA jurisdiction and those states with State Plans for the Public Sector can use the form but most states with State Plans for both Public and Private Sectors cannot use the form yet.
When reporting using the form, the first step is a validation check – employers are asked to “Enter State of Event to determine reporting requirements.” After the validation check, the form either opens or state-specific information is provided.
One of the Frequently Asked Questions on OSHA’s webpage is:
Q: If the Area Office is closed, may I report the incident by leaving a message on OSHA’s answering machine, faxing the Area Office, or sending an e-mail?
A: No, if the Area Office is closed, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using the 800 number (1-800-321-6742).
Section 1904.39(b)(1) clearly notes that the online reporting form may also be used to report an incident when the Area Office is closed:
[I]f Area Office is closed, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using either the 800 number or the reporting application located on OSHA’s public Web site at www.osha.gov.
29 C.F.R. §1904.39(b)(1)(emphasis added)
Employers should be aware before starting the online form that they will need to provide some specific information regarding the incident, its location, information about what happened and when it happened, and contact information for the company and for each of the victims. Without answering all the asterisked questions on the form, the submission will be rejected.