OSHA Updates Federal Health and Safety Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), or the nation’s watchdog over conditions the workplace, has released new requirements regarding an employer’s responsibility in reporting employee fatalities and work-related hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye.  The new federal rule, effective January 1, 2015, also updates which types of employers are at least partly exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements.

The new federal requirement calls for employers to notify OSHA of ALL work-related fatalities within eight hours of learning about the event, and ALL work-related hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours of learning about the event.  Under the old rules, employers were only required to report fatalities, and also hospitalizations of three or more employees.  The importance of this change is that serious work-related events resulting death and hospitalization of employees are likely to indicate hazardous conditions, and if these events are identified quickly and consistently, OSHA can do a better job in its efforts to improve workplace safety.

All employers covered by OSHA must comply with this new rule, even if they are not required to keep injury and illness records.  OSHA is also providing a web portal so employers can report these events electronically.  This will be announced on the OSHA website soon.  Incidents can also be reported by telephone to the nearest OSAH office during normal business hours, or by telephone to the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA.  Items to report include:

  • Establishment name
  • Location of the work-related incident
  • Time of the work-related incident 
  • Type of reportable event (fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye)   
  • Number of employees who suffered the event
  • Names of employees who suffered the event         
  • Contact person and his/her phone number         
  • Brief description of the work-related incident

There are exceptions you need to be aware of. First, if you are located in a state that operates its own safety and health program you need to check with your individual state plan office for additional information to see if this new rule applies to you. In addition, the list of industries that are not required to keep injury and illness records because of the low incidence rates has been expanded.  Lastly, any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of industry, is now exempt from the requirement to keep illness and injury records.

Visit the OSHA Record Keeping website for additional information or learn how Optimum’s HR Software stays compliant with OSHA’s strict regulations.

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