OSHA Issues New Reporting Requirements for Serious Injuries and Updates List of Industries Exempt From Recordkeeping Requirements

On September 11, 2014, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Final Rule that significantly expands injury reporting requirements for all employers and changes the types of establishments required to maintain records of employee injuries and illnesses. The new rule goes into effect January 1, 2015 for employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction.1

Reporting Requirements

Under the new rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA’s regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule. All employers are subject to these reporting requirements, including employers who are otherwise exempt from keeping illness and injury records.

The types of reporting methods available to employers have also been expanded. In addition to calling OSHA’s confidential number (1-800-321-OSHA) or calling the local OSHA Area Office, employers will be able to go to a web portal and make a report electronically. Unfortunately, employer reports of illness or injury will now be made public on OSHA’s website, which OSHA believes will act as an incentive for employers to increase safety for their workers. This means that the information will be freely available to unions, competitors and others.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Additionally, under the new rule, there will be a shift in the number of industries that are partially exempt from keeping illness and injury records such as OSHA Form 300, OSHA Form 301 and OSHA Form 300A. Previous regulations used the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system to categorize industries. The new rule relies on the North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS), along with injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to determine which industries are “low risk” and thus exempt from recordkeeping requirements. As a result, employers in many industries previously exempt from recordkeeping are now required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, while some employers previously required to keep records no longer will have to do so. The industries that will be required to maintain records include, among others, ambulatory health care services, professional, scientific, and technical services, building material and supplies dealers and miscellaneous industries relating to real estate. The new rule maintains the recordkeeping exemption for any employer with ten or fewer employees.

What Employers Should Do

Employers should determine whether they are in an industry required to keep records before the January 1, 2015 effective date. Additionally, employers should ensure that a reporting system is in place and that key personnel are aware of the system in case of an illness or injury in the workplace. Employers should consult with an attorney if they have any questions regarding their obligations under the new rule.

For More Information

For more information on how this or other laws may affect your business, contact Kenneth D. Kleinman at 215.751.1946, Brad M. Kushner at 215.751.1949, or the Stevens & Lee attorney with whom you normally consult for labor and employment matters.

This News Alert has been prepared for informational purposes only and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter. For more information, please see the disclaimer.

1 OSHA-approved state plans must enact rules that are identical to or at least as effective as the federal rule.