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OSHA's New Fatality and Severe Injury Reporting Rule Takes Effect

By Kurt M. Graham / Jan 06, 2015

On September 11, 2014, the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a final rule significantly changing an employer's obligation to report work-related fatalities, and severe injuries and illnesses. Employers located in states under federal OSHA jurisdiction are required to comply with the new reporting requirements as of January 1, 2015. Employers located in states that operate their own safety and health programs should check with their own state plan for the implementation date of the new requirements. All state safety and health programs are required to adopt reporting requirements that are at least as stringent as the new rule announced by OSHA. OSHA has encouraged states to adopt their own reporting requirements as soon as possible.

Under the revised rule, employers are still required to notify OSHA of any work-related fatalities within eight hours of an employee's death, but employers are now required to report any work-related in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye within 24 hours of the incident. This is a significant departure from the prior reporting requirements which only required employers to notify OSHA when there was a workplace fatality, or incident that resulted in the hospitalization of at least three employees.

The new rule does contain some limitations on an employer's reporting obligations. Employers do not have to report:

An event that resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway, or occurred on a commercial or public transportation system. 
An in-patient hospitalization if it was for diagnostic testing or observation only. 

In order to report a covered event to OSHA, an employer must utilize one of the following three options:

By telephone to the nearest OSHA area office during normal business hours.
By telephone to the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA.
OSHA is also currently developing a form to electronically report an event through its website at www.osha.gov.

Because the new reporting requirements will result in OSHA being notified of more workplace injuries at the time of the incident, there will likely be increased enforcement activity by OSHA, including more inspections and citations issued.

If you have any questions about the new OSHA reporting requirements, please contact Kurt Graham at 616-608-1144 | kgraham@clarkhill.com or your Clark Hill Labor & Employment practice group attorney.