Starting January 1, 2015, there are significant changes to OSHA’s reporting policies for work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. The old rules required employers to report all workplace fatalities within 8 hours and instances where three or more workers required hospitalization for the same incident. Under the new reporting requirements, employers will now be required to report ALL work-related fatalities within 8 hours and ALL in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of the incident. Obviously, the new reporting requirements include injuries and deaths from work-related falls.
Few individuals ever cheer more government-mandated reporting requirements, but these new regulations will save lives. More than just added paperwork, these new requirements will assist OSHA in focusing efforts more effectively to prevent work-related injuries and fatalities, and help employers and workers to identify and mitigate serious workplace hazards.
Exemptions to OSHA’s Recordkeeping Requirements
Two classes of employers are partially exempt from routinely keeping records. Employers with ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records. The new recordkeeping requirements maintain this exemption. Businesses in certain low-hazard industries, including finance, insurance, and real estate are also exempt.
What to Do if You Need to Report a Workplace Injury or Death
In the event of a workplace fatality or serious injury, employers have three options to report the incident to OSHA:
- Employers may call their nearest OSHA area office during normal business hours
- Call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)
- Report the incident online at www.osha.gov/report_online
Remember, we all have a responsibility to create and maintain a safe work environment. We specialize in fall protection and mitigating fall hazards, but eliminating all types of workplace safety hazards should be a priority. The new OSHA reporting guidelines will create a safer workplace, a goal we view as a positive step. For more information on these important changes, including a list of exempt businesses, download OSHA’s Incident Reporting Fact Sheet. If the prospect of an unannounced OSHA compliance visit or a recent OSHA fall protection citation is of concern, contact the safety experts at Diversified Fall Protection–we will gladly lend a hand and answer your compliance questions as they relate to fall protection.