In September 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a final rule that alters employers’ reporting and recordkeeping obligations. The new requirements willtake effect on January 1, 2015.
Under the new rule, covered employers must contact OSHA and report the following:
- Any work-related fatality within 8 hours;
- Any work-related inpatient hospitalization of 1 or more employees within 24 hours;
- Any work-related amputation within 24 hours;
- Any work-related loss of an eye within 24 hours;
Under the previous rule, employers were required to report work-related incidents within 8 hours only if the incident resulted in a fatality or the hospitalization of 3 or more employees.
OSHA estimates that the new reporting requirement could result in tens of thousands of additional reportable incidents per year. Not only will the new reporting requirements increase the administrative burden of reporting for employers, but because OSHA on-site inspections are often triggered from reported incidents, there will likely be an increase in OSHA on-site inspections.
Employers should train supervisors and managers on the new reporting requirements.
Employers should also self-audit their facilities, and make sure all of their equipment, procedures, training, and records are up-to-date and in order. By doing so, if OSHA conducts an inspection following the reporting of an isolated accident, the employer will be in a better position regarding potential OSHA citations and fines.