New OSHA Rules on Hospitalizations, Injuries

Posted December 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Beginning Jan. 1, employers must report to OSHA the hospitalization of ANY employee (instead of the current three employee or more threshold) hospitalized for work-related reasons. Hospitalization is defined as being admitted for care or treatment, not merely observation. Employers will be required to report to OSHA within 24 hours of the hospitalization or within 24 hours of finding out about the hospitalization. Reporting of fatalities is unchanged and still must be done within eight hours.

The agency also is adding a new requirement for reporting amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours of the workplace incident. Employers will have the choice of reporting by phone or using an interactive website OSHA has promised to create. There are still many questions employers will have about when they have to report, and under what category they will have to report (e.g. what constitutes an amputation or loss of an eye). Click here to review OSHA’s news release on this issue.  

Perhaps just as importantly, during a recent news media conference call, Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels indicated that the reports employers will have to file will now be posted on the internet.  TRSA objected to the posting of such information under the proposed electronic injury and illness reporting regulation.The association’s concerns include doubts about OSHA’s statutory authority to publish this information and the expectation that critics will use this information to mischaracterize employers’ workplace safety practices. 

In related news,OSHA issued a proposed rule on electronic reporting of injuries and illnesses (including supplemental NPRM reworking whistleblower protections) under the formal title: Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses.

On Nov. 8, 2013, OSHA published a proposed rule to amend its current recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of illness and injury records employers are required to keep under Part 1904. On Aug. 14, 2014, OSHA published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to explore adding provisions that will make it a violation for an employer to discourage employee reporting. The final regulation is anticipated August 2015.