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OSHA Severe Injury Rule Seen as Precursor

Volume 2, Issue 17
September 15, 2014
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OSHA-Severe-Injury-Rule-Seen-as-Precursor-e1412760925697OSHA issued a final rule on Sept. 11 broadening the list of industries covered by its injury reporting requirements, and tightening the reporting period for fatalities and injuries requiring hospitalization.

The current rule only requires employers to report to OSHA workplace-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three-or-more employees.

When the new rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, in-patient hospitalization of one-or-more employees as a result of a work-related incident must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours. This now includes amputations and the loss of an eye as a result of a work-related incident.

Also newly included are motor vehicle accidents occurring in construction work zones on public streets or highways that result in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss, which must be reported to OSHA.

Unchanged from the old rule is an employer’s obligation to report workplace fatalities to OSHA within eight hours.

The final replaces the list of partially-exempt industry groups in SIC groups 52-89, with those in NAICS 44-81. Partially exempt means they are required to report fatalities and serious injuries, but are not required to maintain OSHA 300, 300A or 301 recordkeeping logs.

As a result, the number of employers required to keep routine records expands to include packaging and labeling services, and facilities support services – along with theater companies, dinner theaters, dance companies, musical groups and artists.

Also needing to keep routine logs are many retail businesses, including new and used car dealers; beer, wine and liquor stores; and hardware stores. In addition, the list includes residential and non-residential building lessors and property managers; marketing research firms; blood and organ banks; convention and trade show organizers; services for the elderly and disabled; food service contractors; caterers; and even bowling alleys.

However, among those newly added to the list of the partially exempt employers were labor unions and similar labor organizations.

Transportation and warehousing, and temp staffing agencies were among the industries OSHA said are not eligible for exemption. However, companies involved in the arrangement of freight transportation and non-scheduled air transportation are eligible for partial exemption.

Under the new rule employer reports of all fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, or eye losses will be made publicly available on the agency’s website.

To matters confusing, the agency has not yet finalized an entirely separate proposed rule that would make employer OSHA 300, 300A and 301 logs available to the public on the Web.

The agency extended the comment period for that proceeding because OSHA recently proposed an addition requiring employers inform their employees about the reporting requirements (AA, 8-30-14, P. 3).

In regard to the new serious injury final rule, OSHA said it believes that public disclosure on the Web will “incentivize” employers to ensure they provide a safe workplace for their employees.

“Clearly, OSHA’s willingness to post employer [fatal and serious injury] reports indicates which way it is likely to go in the current rulemaking on posting OSHA 300 logs,” said Nickole Winnett, an attorney with the law firm of Jackson Lewis PC.

Attorney John F. Martin of Ogletree Deakins, warned, “Any employer required to submit a report of an accident to OSHA should expect an OSHA inspection or at least some contact from OSHA.”

He added, “Even for instances that may not be work-related (such as if an employee suffers a heart attack at work or develops food poisoning due to something he or she ate at lunch), employers can anticipate that OSHA will check the veracity of the employer’s report.”

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