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New OSHA Reporting Requirements Effective January 1, 2015

Authored by attorney Megan Caramore

On September 11, 2014, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced a final rule with respect to new reporting requirements for fatalities and severe injuries.  Previously, the rule required only that employers report fatalities or hospitalizations of three or more workers.  The new rule, which takes effect on January 1, 2015, requires that employers report any fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. 

A fatality must be reported within eight hours after the employer learns of it, while any in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours after the employer has notice.  Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported.  For an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye, the incident must be reported to OSHA only if it occurs within 24 hours of the work-related incident. 

An in-patient hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.  Employers are not required to report an in-patient hospitalization for diagnostic testing or observation only.  In-patient hospitalization due to heart attack must be reported if the heart attack was the result of a work-related incident.  Reporting is not required where the event resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public highway or street, except where the event occurred in a construction work zone.  Further, reporting is not required where the event occurred on a commercial or public transportation system.

To facilitate reporting, OSHA is in the process of developing a new web portal (https://www.osha.gov/report_online/) to allow employers to comply with the reporting requirements electronically.  Of course, until and after the web portal goes live, employers may continue to use conventional reporting options including calling the reporting hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or by calling or visiting the closest area OSHA office during normal business hours.

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