The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees the safety of workers across the country, and they are responsible for addressing risks to employees, as well as gathering data to identify these hazards. To maintain accurate and timely data on injuries and fatalities in the workplace, OSHA enforces guidelines which companies must obey regarding the timeline and method that they report incidents in the workplace.
The start of the new year has brought with it a number of new OSHA reporting parameters for employers to report work accidents. Previously, supervisors and managers were only required to submit a report in the instance of a death on the job or when three or more employees were hurt. While these guidelines did help to gather important information, the administration has determined that more stringent requirements will help to pinpoint acute hazards in a more timely fashion.
As of January 1, 2015, employers must now submit an official report for a workplace fatality within 8 hours. In addition, any instance of a worker being admitted as an in-patient to a hospital, undergoing an amputation, or losing an eye must be reported within 24 hours of the incident. Employers can file reports via the OSHA hotline or online, although the online portion will not be available until mid-January. OSHA has explained that the new requirements are meant to prevent serious risks from causing additional fatalities or severe injuries as quickly as possible.
Industries facing the most risk of fatalities and serious injuries include:
- Agriculture and forestry
- Chemical plants and refineries
- Oil and gas
- Transportation and trucking
- Warehousing and storage
The new guidelines are implemented on a federal level, but some states may be exempt from immediately adhering to them, as some states operate under OSHA state plans. OSHA has provided a website detailing more information regarding the changes, including a list of the new rule’s application process in various states.
The new requirements should help OSHA identify a potentially fatal risk before any further harm is done to workers, and that’s definitely good news. This is another step forward in providing a more safe environment for workers across many fields, and we hope that 2015 will see even more promising progress.