Government News: OSHA proposes new rules to increase reporting of workplace injuries

OSHA has announced proposed rules to increase reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers are currently required to keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses but under the new rules instead of just recording injury data, OSHA would require companies with more than 250 employees and some smaller high-risk organizations to report quarterly on-line. The proposed rules are available on-line in the Federal Register and the public has until Feb. 6, 2014 to submit written comments.

For comparison, the current reporting/recording regulations are summarized below.

Reporting
If an employee is killed in a work place related accident or three or more employees are hospitalized then under the current regulations (29 CFR 1904) the employer must orally report the death to OSHA within eight (8) hours.

Recording
Employers are also required to keep records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses, using the OSHA 300 Log (with certain exceptions for very small and/or very safe workplaces)

OSHA Lists the recordable events as follows:

  • Covered employers must record all work-related fatalities.
  • Covered employers must record all work-related injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid.
  • In addition, employers must record significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnoses by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
  • Injuries include cases such as, but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation.
  • Illnesses include both acute and chronic illnesses, such as, but not limited to, a skin disease (i.e. contact dermatitis), respiratory disorder (i.e. occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis), or poisoning (i.e. lead poisoning, solvent intoxication).
  • OSHA’s definition of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities are those in which an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition. In addition, if an event or exposure in the work environment significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness, this is also considered work-related.

Annually, the summary of all incidents must be posted in a public area where employees can see it.

Further information about the current requirements is available at https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/.