The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new rules requiring expedited reporting of serious on-the-job injuries and illnesses and revising recordkeeping requirements will soon take effect.
OSHA’s revised rule is effective January 1, 2015, and retains the current requirement to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours. However, the rule adds the requirement that employers notify OSHA within 24 hours when an employee suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. Although there are some exceptions to the reporting requirements, this is a significant departure from the current regulations, which do not require an employer to report single hospitalizations to OSHA unless three or more employees are hospitalized. Employers can report to OSHA by phone, in person, or using an online form that has yet to become available.
The new rules also modify requirements regarding recordkeeping related to on-the-job injuries and illnesses. In particular, OSHA has updated the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records (the OSHA 300 Log). Notably, bakeries, car dealers and auto parts stores, wine and liquor stores, museums and historical sites, performing arts companies, ambulatory care establishments, and community food and housing services, which had previously been exempt from recordkeeping, are now required to keep injury and illness logs. Conversely, “low-hazard industries” such as clothing stores, full-service restaurants, colleges and universities, and newspaper publishers are now exempt and not required to keep injury and illness records.
The revised rules retain the recordkeeping exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of industry classification.
OSHA has stated that the new rule will allow it to “focus its efforts more effectively to prevent fatalities and serious work-related injuries and illnesses.” It is expected that OSHA will use the increased data they collect to target specific industries and establishments for on-site inspections and investigations.
In advance of January 1, employers should review their safety and injury protocols to ensure that they are prepared to comply with OSHA’s new reporting and recordkeeping requirements.