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OSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. In addition, the rule updates the list of employers who are partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements. The rule will go into effect January 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.

Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.

All employers covered by OSHA, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records are required to comply with OSHA’s new severe injury and illness reporting requirements. OSHA is developing a Web portal for employers to report incidents electronically, in addition the phone reporting options.

OSHA has also updated the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records. The new list is based on updated injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new rule maintains the exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirements to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.

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