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Tip of the Month: Are You Aware of the New OSHA Reporting Requirements?

OSHA’s new reporting rules expand the list of workplace-related incidents which must be reported to OSHA.  Employers should be aware that incidents which in the past did not warrant contacting OSHA must now be reported to the agency.

Previously, employers were only required to report work-related fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees to OSHA (with several small exceptions).  Under the new requirements, employers must now report all work-related fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees, amputations, and losses of an eye (with the same small exceptions).

A fatality must be reported if it occurs within 30 days of a work-related incident and must be reported within eight hours of the employer finding out about it (or finding out it was the result of a work-related incident) if the employer does not find out about it right away.  In-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye must be reported if they occur within 24 hours of a work incident, and employers must report them within 24 hours of finding out about them (or finding out they were the result of a work-related incident) if the employer does not find out about them right away.

You can contact report incidents to OSHA either by telephone or in person at the nearest OSHA office, by calling OSHA’s toll-free central number, or by filling out an online form on OSHA’s website.  You must provide OSHA the following information when reporting an incident: the name of the establishment, the location and time of the incident, the type of incident, the name(s) and number of employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, the business’s contact person and telephone number, and a brief description of the incident.

You should also keep in mind that while certain industries are exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements due to size or industry (in fact, some industries which previously enjoyed this exemption are no longer exempt and some previously non-exempt industries have now been made exempt), this exemption does not extend to the requirement to report the types of incidents discussed above directly to OSHA.  You must report these incidents even if you do not have to keep OSHA injury and illness records.

So what does all this mean for employers?  You should be sure you report all the incidents which OSHA requires.  It is important to have a system in place to enable the person responsible for reporting to OSHA to promptly find out about an incident, get the necessary information, and provide it to the agency.

These new requirements went into effect on January 1, 2015, but state with OSHA-approved plans are not required to implement these changes until January 1, 2016.  If you are in such a state, or if you have questions about the new requirements or how to comply with them, you should consult competent labor and employment counsel.

Brody and Associates regularly advises its clients on matters involving OSHA and OSHA compliance.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.