OSHA recently passed new rules requiring employers to notify OSHA of a fatality within eight (8) hours of the death. The new rules also require employers to file a report with OSHA for each in-patient hospitalization of an employee or situations where an amputation or eye-loss has occurred. The report must be made within 24 hours of the incident. OSHA defines in-patient hospitalization as a “formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.” Employers can make the report in person to the OSHA area office, by a toll-free number, 1-800-321-OSHA, or by electronic submission on OSHA’s website, www.osha.gov. The reporting obligations apply to all employers, even those that are exempt from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements. The new rules will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
As a result of this change, OSHA will likely perform more inspections of establishments where serious injuries or fatalities occur. As always, it is imperative for employers to be proactive in an effort to minimize unsafe conditions in the workplace. At the same time, employers need to develop procedures to address serious injuries or fatalities that may occur in their establishment. To this end, employers should educate their managers and supervisors of OSHA’s new reporting requirements. By taking these steps, employers can protect their employees and minimize their liability resulting from workplace accidents.