OSHA’s New Employer Reporting Rule

OSHA recently announced newrequirements for businesses to report severe injuries in the aftermath of a report citing 4,405 workers killed on the job during 2013. The goal of the new reporting rule is to hold employers accountable for preventing accidents in the workplace.

Severe Injury Reporting Requirements

The revised rule requires employers to notify OSHA within eight hours of workplace fatalities occurring and within 24 hours of accidents requiring in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or the loss of an eye. The previous rule only required notification concerning fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations involving three or more employees from work-related injuries.

Why the focus on hospitals and amputations? According toDr. David Michaels, who is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, “Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment.”

OSHA believes the new rule will place considerably more pressure on business owners to provide improved safety standards, increased safety training and education, and develop and procure safer equipment to use in workplaces throughout the country.

Even employers who were not previously required to maintain records of illnesses and injuries related to the job must comply with the new requirement for reporting severe injuries and illnesses.

OSHA has also committed to creating a web portal in order to facilitate the reporting processes electronically giving employers an option other than phone reporting that has been used in the past.

Relaxed Reporting for Some Industries

Additional changes were announced that involved reporting minor injuries. Beginning in January of 2015, several industries will no longer be required to keep injury and illness records, though they will be required to report fatalities and hospitalizations according to the new rules. Among the industries affected are:

  • Legal services
  • Clothing stores
  • Gasoline stations
  • Book, periodical, and music stores
  • Advertising services
  • Motor vehicle dealers
  •  Electronics stores
  • Appliance stores
  • Sporting goods and hobby stores
  • Health and personal care stores
  • Architectural services
  • Colleges and universities
  • Community or junior colleges
  • Business support services
  • Freight transportation arrangement
  •  Florists
  • Office administrative services
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  •  Professional schools
  • Business schools
  • Travel services

The complete list can be found on the OSHA website, but includes a wide range of businesses that are considered to be low risk businesses for job-related injuries and illnesses.

No matter how much effort you put into safety and training, though, accidents do sometimes occur. That’s why it’s so important for business owners today to invest in workers’ compensation insurance. Not only is it legally required in almost every state and industry, but it also provides you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your workers will be taken care of if they are injured on the job.