Under new reporting requirements announced on September 11, 2014 by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers will be required to notify OSHA of any work-related fatalities within eight hours, and any work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. This is a move away from OSHA’s prior, less stringent reporting requirements, which only mandated reporting of in-patient hospitalizations involving three or more employees in addition to reporting of any work-related fatalities. Employers were not required report incidents resulting in a single hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. 

In its final rule, OSHA also updated the list of industries that are exempt from the recordkeeping requirements based on their relatively low occupational injury and illness rates.  However, all employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act – even those exempt from maintaining injury and illness records – will be required to comply with OSHA’s new reporting requirements.

Employers with workplaces in states under federal OSHA jurisdiction will be required to comply with the new requirements by January 1, 2015.  OSHA is encouraging States with OSHA-approved job safety and health programs to implement the new requirements by that same date, although employers in such jurisdictions will need to confirm actual State plan changes.

The new requirements come shortly after US. Department of Labor reported more than 4,400 workers were killed on the job in 2013. During a press call, David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, explained the rationale behind the new requirements: “Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating 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.”

To assist employers, OSHA says it plans an extensive outreach campaign to explain changes to the list of industries now required to maintain injury and illness records. Further, OSHA is in the process of developing an electronic reporting system for employers to report incidents electronically, in addition to phone reporting.

More information regarding the new final OSHA rule can be found here.