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New OSHA reporting rules are now in effect

All employers subject to oversight by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including those located in Maryland, are now required to promptly report fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations related to workplace incidents. A time limit of eight hours has been imposed for employers to make reports for cases involving a death on the job. Loss of an eye, amputation, or hospitalization must be reported within 24 hours of learning of an incident.

Companies of smaller sizes that are exempt from certain OSHA record-keeping requirements, particularly those with less than 10 employees, are also required to comply with this new rule. Previously, hospitalizations for workplace injuries only needed to be reported when three or more workers were involved in the same work-related incident.

OSHA does allow for some exemptions from reporting. For example, fatalities must be reported only if they occur within 30 days of a job-related incident. Hospitalizations, eye loss, and limb loss are subject to reporting if they occur within a 24-hour period following an incident in a work-related setting. Injuries suffered on public or commercial transportation are not subject to reporting requirements. Injuries suffered in work-related motor vehicle accidents are only subject to reporting if they occur in a construction area. Hospitalization is exempt from reporting if it is only for diagnostic purposes or for observation. It is also not necessary to report hospitalization for a work-related heart attack.

Reports to OSHA provide information needed for the agency to assemble data and investigate serious situations. A workers' compensation claim typically addresses the medical expenses incurred for an employee who is injured on the job, and benefits can also include a percentage of any wages that were lost when the injured employee was unable to work.

Source: Insurance Journal, "New OSHA Reporting Rules on Workplace Deaths, Hospitalizations in Effect Jan. 1", December 31, 2014

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