On Sept. 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced revisions to its rule that requires employers to notify OSHA when employees suffer a work-related hospitalization or fatality. Under the previous rule, OSHA’s regulations required an employer to report the work-related fatality of one or more persons and the hospitalization of three or more workers for more than first aid. OSHA did not require employers to report the hospitalization of one employee, amputations, or the loss of an eye under the previous version of the rule.
The revisions announced in September 2014 expand employers’ reporting requirements. Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements—NAICS Update and Reporting Revisions, 79 Fed. Reg. 181 (Sept. 18, 2014) (to be codified at 29 C.F.R. pt. 1904).
In addition, all employers covered by OSHA—even those exempt from maintaining injury and illness records—are now required to comply with OSHA’s revised reporting requirements with respect to work-related fatalities and hospitalization. This change accompanies an update to the list of industries exempt from maintaining OSHA injury and illness records. So although all employers covered by OSHA must comply with the new injury reporting requirements, more industries are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records. For example, under the previous rule, pipeline transportation and newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing industries were among those required to maintain annual injury and illness logs. Under the revised rule, these industries are no longer required to maintain these records unless specifically requested to do so by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers located in states under federal OSHA jurisdiction, such as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, must comply with the new requirements as of Jan. 1, 2015. On the other hand, employers located in states that operate their own safety and health programs (State Plan States), such as California, Illinois, New York, and Washington, should check with their state plan for the implementation date of the new requirements. OSHA is encouraging the states to implement the new coverage provisions on Jan. 1, 2015, but acknowledges that some may not be able to meet this deadline.