OSHA Reporting & Record-Keeping: What Will Be Required in 2015?

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced a new rule, effective January 1, 2015, that will require employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job, requires hospitalization from a work-related injury, suffers an amputation, or loses an eye. Additionally, this new rule updates the list of employers that are partially exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

Beginning in 2015, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours. Further, employers must also report work injuries that require hospitalization (in-patient stays), limb amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Under the previous rule, employers were required to report only work-related hospitalizations or fatalities that involved three or more employees. Again, these new reporting requirements pertain to all workplaces that fall under federal OSHA jurisdiction, even those that are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records of serious employee injuries and illness either due to the nature of its industry (since 1982, this has been comprised of establishments in the divisions of retail trade, finance, insurance and real estate, and the service industry if the three year average lost workday case rate for their major industry group was 75 percent or less of the overall three year average of the lost workday case rate for private industry), or due to company size (fewer than 10 employees at all times during the previous calendar year, regardless of industry).  It should also be noted that OSHA has added 25 additional industries to the list of those that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records.

Please visit https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/records.html for more information regarding new record keeping rules and requirements.

As a practical matter, it can be expected that the number of reportable instances will increase dramatically under the new rule. For instance, it is more likely that an incident could occur requiring only one worker to be hospitalized, which would previously not have been reportable. Also, it has been noted that OSHA now considers losses of fingertips without bone loss as amputations, which would now require reporting. After filing a report with OSHA, employers can expect interaction, if not an inspection. As such, it is recommended that the employer be fully aware and knowledgeable as to what OSHA standards apply in order to ensure full compliance.

To help employers comply with the new regulation, OSHA is in the process of developing a website so that employers can report the incidents electronically. However, employers may also continue to report these instances by telephone (1-800-321-OSHA), or by calling the nearest Area Office.

Thanks to Partner Colin Mills for keeping up with these developments.