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OSHA Revises Death, Accident Reporting Regulations for 2015

November 5, 2014 | Staffing Blog

2015 OSHA Accident Reporting Regulations

As part of its ongoing efforts to crack down on under-reporting of injuries and illness on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced new rules that take effect Jan. 1, 2015. Employers will be required to notify OSHA following a work-related fatality, hospitalization, amputation or eye loss.

During a Sept. 11 press announcement on the changes, David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said, “OSHA’s new requirement to report severe injuries and illnesses will assist employers, workers and OSHA to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards, ones that have already caused injuries to occur.”

Also on Sept. 11, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. It reported that in 2013, there were 4,405 fatal work injuries in the United States. That was slightly lower than 4,628 fatalities reported in 2012.

The rate of fatal work injury for U.S. workers in 2013 was 3.2 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, compared to a final rate of 3.4 per 100,000 in 2012.

Under the new rule, OSHA will receive reports from employers who were killed or suffered severe injuries at work. The basis for this added reporting is to give OSHA greater ability to target its resources and prevent additional injuries.

Michaels explained, “The data from these new reports will enable OSHA to better identify workplaces where workers are at greatest risk and to target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources accordingly. This new rule will help establish a new relationship between OSHA and employers whose employees have been seriously injured.”

Currently employers in states covered by Federal OSHA are required to report all work-related fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours of the event. The revised provision maintains that requirement but adds a new requirement for employers to report all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of the event.

According to BLR, which helps businesses comply with state and federal legal requirements, notes that not following these new guidelines can result in significant penalties. An employer could face penalties of up to $70,000 per employee.

BLR suggests a solid strategy for businesses in evaluating their existing safety and reporting program is to review the most common and frequent OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping mistakes. Then, determine if any of those issue are problematic for your company and, if so, develop a plan to address them.