As with all things related to OSHA, things are changing once again. This time, the changes are related to the recordkeeping rules. In 2015, you must be prepared for the new ways of documenting accidents—and know when, how, why, where, and what you report to OSHA. Before you are dinged for incomplete documentation or missed deadlines, make sure to note the following updates to OSHA’s recordkeeping rules:
What to Expect with the Changes…
Here’s the deal: OSHA has updated the list of industries that are required to report injuries and illnesses. The details regarding what companies have to report are being mandated, along with the new deadlines for reporting incidents. As noted in OSHA’s reporting requirements for employers, the compliance deadline is on January 1, 2015.
Why is there a change to OSHA’s process of recording injuries and illnesses? According to Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA:
“OSHA will now receive crucial reports of fatalities and severe work-related injuries and illnesses that will significantly enhance the agency’s ability to target our resources to save lives and prevent further injury and illness. This new data will enable the agency to identify the workplaces where workers are at the greatest risk and target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources accordingly.”
Who Needs to Report Injuries and Illnesses?
In the past, companies with fewer than 11 employees (that did not have to keep OSHA records), were exempted from reporting injuries or illnesses to OSHA. This is no longer the case. Now, according to OSHA’s FAQs, all employers who are under the jurisdiction of OSHA must report injuries and illnesses regardless of the size of their company or their industry.
What Needs to be Reported and When?
Another recordkeeping update deals with the type of incidents that must be reported. As of January 1, 2015, any work-related fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or eye loss must be reported. When do the reports need to be sent to OSHA? You have 8 hours to report fatalities related to the workplace—and the deadline clock starts once you learn about the fatality. For the other three types of incidents to be reported, you have to report these to OSHA within 24 hours of knowing injury or illness.
The Nitty-Gritty Details
There is some leeway regarding reporting incidents that are not so sudden. For instance, what do you do if a work-related fatality occurs six weeks after the incident that lead to the death? You do not have to report this fatality. You only have to report work-related fatalities that happen within 30 days of the related incident. What if you have an employee who loses an eye due to an accident that happened at work, but the loss occurs six months after the incident? No need to report this, either, since the statute for reporting in-patient hospitalization, eye loss or amputation ends after 24 hours following the work-related incident.
Protect Yourself, Your Employees and Your Business
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your employees is to mandate OSHA reporting training in your company—so everyone is on the same page when it comes to reporting injuries and illnesses that are work-related.