OSHA made a dramatic change in the way on-the-job injuries are reported a year ago when it implemented new reporting requirements. As of the beginning of 2015, employers were not only required to report any fatalities within 8 hours, but also injuries that required overnight hospitalization, amputations or loss of an eye injuries within 24 hours.
Now the agency has launched a new online form to report those injuries. The form can be found here. Companies can still report the incident by phone. The site also has some fairly important guidance on making reports. For example, there is a 1-800-number to make reports; OSHA doesn’t just want companies to leave a message on the voice mail of the local OSHA office. Also, for incidents involving temporary workers, the company that supervises the worker is responsible for making the report.
Why is this important? The change in what needs to be reported triggered a whole change in the way OSHA approaches incidents. OSHA has been investigating about half of the incidents on the spot. For most of the rest of the incidents it has required the company to do an in-house analysis and provide investigators with a report and they may then follow up. One Houston company received a large fine for failing to report within the 24-hour period. The bottom line is that any accident that puts a worker in the hospital may open the company to an investigation, fine and future inspections.
Employers need to understand the new rules and know what to do before the incident happens. If you need help addressing your policies or if you have had an incident and need to implement safeguards to keep it from happening again contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org