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Feds Tighten Rules on Workplace Injury Reporting

Feb 13, 2015
Feds Tighten Rules on Workplace Injury Reporting 9/12/14

Tightening its standards, the federal government issued new regulations that are beyond the present requirement to file a detailed report within eight hours of fatal workplace accidents. Severe on-the-job injuries that do not result in deaths but require hospitalization (admitted) must be reported within 24 hours. The new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2015. The 24-hour reporting requirement includes work-related hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye.

Reporting single-instance hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule. OSHA's regulations required such reports only if a worker was killed or three or more workers were hospitalized as a result of a workplace accident. Such severe injuries can be clear signals "that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Such reports must be filed regardless of the size of the business to the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, the new rule maintains the current exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer workers from the requirement to keep written logs/records of worker injuries and illnesses.

The new rule follows the release earlier in the day of a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in the United States in 2013.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed reservations about the new regulations. Requiring reports when a single employee is hospitalized "brings into play questions about whether the hospitalization is work related," said Marc Freedman, the Chamber's director of labor law policy. In the past, three or more hospitalizations had been the policy for reporting. With just one employee "whether it was work related may not be clear," Freedman said. Furthermore, he said, since the reports are public records, they're likely to be available on the Internet. "So there's lots of complications related to that" for many businesses.

The accident reports should go to OSHA by telephone or in person. It should reported to the area OSHA office that is nearest to the site of the incident. You may also use the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742). There are some exceptions to this new detailed reporting such as those injured in motor vehicle accidents on public road or highway or those on public transportation. All heart attacks resulting in death must also be
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