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New OSHA Fatality and Severe Injury Reporting Rule Effective Jan. 1, 2015

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require employers under federal OSHA jurisdiction to submit a report to the agency whenever an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.

Under the revised recordkeeping 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. OSHA previously required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations involving three or more employees.

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, will be required to comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements. Reporting will be accomplished by calling the agency’s confidential toll-free number (1-800-321-OSHA), the nearest federal OSHA area office during business hours or via an electronic form that will available through a new web portal.

“Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

As part of the rule change, OSHA has also updated the list of industries with relatively low injury and illness rates that are exempt from a requirement to routinely keep related records. The list of industries was based on the phased-out Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996-1998. The new list of exempt industries is based on the North American Industry Classification System and 2007-2009 BLS injury and illness data.

The new rule retains the exemption for any employer with less than 11 employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records.

Companies located in states that operate their own occupational health and safety programs are advised to check with their state agency about implementation dates. OSHA is encouraging states to adhere to the federal deadline but acknowledged that may not be possible in some states because of the short timeframe.

Officials said the final rule will allow OSHA to focus its efforts more effectively on prevention. The final rule is also expected to improve access by employers, employees, researchers and the public to information about workplace safety and health and increase their ability to identify and abate serious hazards.

Non-compliance with recordkeeping rules can result in citations and fines. For more information about the new rule, visit OSHA’s recordkeeping website.