Employment Law Update
December 1, 2014
Happy New Year from OSHA! In 2015 employers must comply with two changes to OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
New Reporting Rules
According to the first change, employers must contact their OSHA agency:
- Within eight hours if a work-related accident results in a fatality, and
- Within 24 hours if a work-related accident results in the hospitalization of one or more employees, an amputation, or the loss of an eye.
This requirement will go into effect as of January 1, 2015 in most states, including North Carolina and Georgia. For employers in South Carolina, the new reporting rule will take effect once it is adopted by the General Assembly and implemented by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation—which may not be until the summer of 2015.
Currently, employers have to report only accidents that result in a fatality or in the inpatient hospitalization of three or more employees; amputations do not have to be reported.
Under the new rule, a fatality must be reported within eight hours if it occurs immediately or if it occurs within 30 days of when the work-related accident took place. An inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours if it takes place within 24 hours of the incident. The reporting clock does not begin until the employer learns about the reportable event.
OSHA defines an inpatient hospitalization as “a formal admission to the inpatient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.” Hospital visits for observation or diagnostic testing are not reportable events.
An amputation is defined as the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include fingertip amputations with or without bone loss.
The North Carolina Department of Labor has developed a graphic that helps explain the new reporting rule; it can be accessed here.
New Recordkeeping Rules
Also, effective on January 1 for employers in most states, OSHA has narrowed the list of industries that are partially exempt from its requirement to keep records of occupational injuries and illnesses. As a result, many employers that are currently exempt will soon have to maintain these. The records include the OSHA 300 log, 301 form, and 300A annual summary.
Some of the industries that will be covered by the recordkeeping rule starting with the new year include:
- “Automobile dealers”
- “Automotive parts, accessories and tire stores”
- “Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing”
- “Direct selling establishments”
- “Performing arts companies”
- “Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions”
- “Amusement and recreation industries”
- “Other personal services”
The rule exempting any employer with 10 or fewer employees from the recordkeeping requirement will remain in place.
OSHA’s overview fact sheet describing the new reporting and recordkeeping requirements can be accessed here.
The expansion of these reporting and recordkeeping requirements is expected to lead to more OSHA inspections and citations. So as a new year brings new rules, employers should resolve to become familiar with them and prepare to comply with them.