The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) has revised the rules for reporting severe injuries to the agency, requiring employers to notify OHSA for any that require hospitalization. Officials expect that this will result in thousands of injury reports.
OSHA Mandates Stricter Rules
OHSA still requires that any workplace fatality be reported within eight hours of the event. The same rules apply if three or more workers were injured on the job and required hospitalization. Beginning January 1, 2015, the agency must be notified within 24 hours for every hospitalization that occurs from a workplace injury and any injury that results in the loss of a limb or eye. The eight hour fatality reporting rule remains the same.
It updated the types of agencies that must keep records of less severe injuries to exclude industries with low accident rates and those with fewer than 10 employees, but they are still required to report each hospitalization.
Web Portal Allows Efficient Reporting
OHSA is developing a web portal that will allow employers to electronically report these new requirements. This will allow for efficient reporting and tracking, ensuring the proper information is in the system right away. Employers will still be able to call in to report an injury or death.
By tracking individual instances of hospitalizations and injuries, the agency hopes to better review workplace accidents and determine how to better prevent these from occurring to begin with. When an employer reports an injury, OHSA will start talking with the employer about the injury, what caused the accident, and how it can be prevented in the future. The agency will ask the employer to provide evidence that the issue has been resolved. It estimates that this will lead to around 25,000 injury reports in the next year to the agency.
OHSA has worked to decrease workplace injuries by around 67% since 1970. A recent report stated that 4,405 people died from workplace accidents in 2013. This is a lower number than in 2012, which reported 4,628 workplace injuries. The agency notes that the majority of workplace injuries are actually preventable and it is up to employers to do everything possible to create a safe workplace.