Last Thursday, September 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the adoption of new stricter reporting requirements under its recordkeeping rule.  Under the revised rule, employers will continue to be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight (8) hours of the employee’s death, but employers now will also be required to report any work-related in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye within 24 hours of the incident.  This is a significant departure from the current reporting requirements, which only require employers to notify OSHA when there is a workplace fatality or an incident at work results in the hospitalization of at least three employees. 

Because OSHA will be notified of more workplace injuries at the time of the incident, the new reporting requirements may result in increased enforcement activity by OSHA, more OSHA inspections, and more citations issued by OSHA.  On a related matter, during a teleconference on the rule revisions, OSHA representatives also announced that the agency plans to make all employer reports of work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, or eye losses publicly available on OSHA’s website. 

The new reporting requirements are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2015 for states, such as Ohio, that are regulated by federal OSHA.  States that follow state plans will announce their dates for implementation on their own, but OSHA has encouraged them to adopt the same January 1 deadline. 

It is important to remember that states that have adopted their own state plans can adopt rules and regulations that are more demanding than the rules promulgated by federal OSHA.  Currently, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee have the same reporting requirements as federal OSHA.  Under Kentucky’s plan, in addition to reporting workplace fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours, employers are required to report any amputations or the hospitalization of one to two employees within 72 hours following the incident.  All of these states will be required to adopt reporting requirements that are at least as strict as the new rules announced by federal OSHA. 

You can view additional information about the changes to OSHA’s recordkeeping rule at OSHA’s website by clicking here.