Worker Injury Reporting Requirements Revised by OSHA


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has recently issued several rule changes, including the reporting requirements for workplace injuries.  The previous regulation required the employer to notify OSHA “[w]ithin eight (8) hours after the death of any employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident.” 29 C.F.R. § 1904.39(a). Effective January 1, 2015, employers are required “to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, as well as amputations and losses of an eye, to OSHA within 24 hours of the event.” See Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements—NAICS Update and Reporting Revisions, 79 FR 56130-01.

The rule revision comes on the heels of the National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2013 (Preliminary Results) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, on September 11, 2014.  The census found that while fatal work injuries were down from 4,628 in 2012, there were still 4,405 fatal work injuries in 2013. Following the census results, the Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, issued a statement expressing disappointment with the number of fatal work injuries. “We can and must do better. Job gains in oil and gas and construction have come with more fatalities, and that is unacceptable,” said Perez.

Other rule changes for employers to be aware of include:

All employers covered by OSHA, even those exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with the new OSHA severe injury and illness reporting requirements.

OSHA is developing an web-based option for employers to report incidents electronically in addition to the phone reporting options.

Based on the census, the list of industries exempted from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records has been updated. The previous list of exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification system and the new rule uses the North American Industry Classification System to classify establishments by industry. (Note: Any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, is exempt from the record keeping rule.)

For readers unfamiliar with OSHA, OSHA provides a number of helpful publications, including an “All About OSHA” brochure located here.

(Hat Tip: Claims Journal).