On September 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule which updates the reporting and record-keeping requirements for injuries and illnesses, found at 29 C.F.R. 1904. The rule goes into effect on January 1, 2015.
Changes to record-keeping requirements
Under OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation, certain covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. However, there are two classes of employers that are partially exempt from routinely keeping injury and illness records:
- Employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year; and
- Establishments in certain low-hazard industries.
The new rule maintains the exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees. However, the new rule has an updated list of industries that will be partially exempt from keeping OSHA records. The previous list of partially exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997, and 1998. The new list of partially exempt industries in the updated rule is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009. As a result, many employers who were once exempted from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements are now required to keep records. A list of newly covered industries can be found at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/reporting_industries.html.
Changes to the reporting requirements
In addition to revising the record-keeping requirements, the new rule expands the list of severe injuries and illnesses that employers must report to OSHA. Under the previous rule, employers were required to report the following events to OSHA:
- All work-related fatalities.
- All work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees.
Under the new rule, employers must report the following events to OSHA:
- All work-related fatalities.
- All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees.
- All work-related amputations.
- All work-related losses of an eye.
For any fatality that occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident, employers must report the event within eight hours of finding out about it.
For any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss that occurs within 24 hours of a work-related incident, employers must report the event within 24 hours of learning about it.
Employers do not have to report an event if the event:
- Resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway, except in a construction work zone; employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone.
- Occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, street car, light rail, train).
- Occurred more than 30 days after the work-related incident in the case of a fatality or more than 24 hours after the work-related incident in the case of an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
Employers do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization if it was for diagnostic testing or observation only. An in-patient hospitalization is a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.
Employers do have to report an in-patient hospitalization due to a heart attack, if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.
What to report
Employers reporting a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA must report all of the following information:
- The name of the establishment.
- The location of the work-related incident.
- The time of the work-related incident.
- The type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye).
- The number of employees who suffered the event.
- The names of the employees who suffered the event.
- The contact person and his or her phone number.
- A brief description of the work-related incident.
How to report
Employers can use the following three options to report an event:
- Call the nearest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
- Call the 24-hour OSHA hotline (800-321-OSHA or 800-321-6742).
- Report an incident electronically (OSHA is developing a new means of reporting events electronically, which will be released soon and will be accessible on OSHA’s website).
It is recommended that employers familiarize themselves with the final rule and train personnel accordingly. All employers under OSHA jurisdiction, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.