The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced last week a final rule to amend the Agency’s injury reporting regulations. Effective January 1, 2015, the new rule will require employers to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or an employee’s loss of an eye within 24 hours of the event.
Hospitalization is defined to be when a person is “formally admitted” to a hospital or clinic for at least one overnight stay “for care or treatment”. Employers do not have to report in-patient hospitalizations that only involve observation or diagnostic testing. OSHA’s definition of “amputation” is “the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part”. This includes “fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached.” It does not include avulsions (tissue torn away from the body), deglovings (skin torn away from the underlying tissue), scalpings, severed ears, broken or chipped teeth.
For the first time, employers will be allowed to report a work-related fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye electronically by using a fatality/injury/illness reporting application, located on OSHA’s public website at www.osha.gov. The application will include mandatory fields such as the location and time of the work-related incident, the number of injured employees and the names of the injured employees. The final rule does not include options for reporting by e-mail, fax, or text.
Over the next few months, employers should make it a priority to train designated staff on the new reporting regulations. State OSHA agencies are expected to follow suit with similar amendments.
To read the final rule, please see here.