As we reported late last year, OSHA has implemented new rules and regulations on the self reporting of injuries. The new rules came into effect on January 1 and will cause a lot of new reporting by employers directly to OSHA regarding injuries.
Under the rules we’ve been used to, you had to call OSHA only when there was a fatality or a catastrophe within 8 hrs. A fatality was defined as 3 or more people injured and hospitalized by the same incident. These are sometimes called Fat/Cat complaints or reporting. Under the new rules, all fatalities must be reported within 8 hrs and (here’s the kicker) all work related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye must be reported within 24 hours.
There are some important definitions that you will need to be aware of. Amputation includes the loss of the tip of a finger regardless of whether there was any bone loss. Inpatient hospitalization means hospitalization for anything more than observation. If medical treatment is performed in-patient you must report. Finally, the clock begins as soon as you are made aware of the fatality, amputation or admission of the patient not necessarily when the incident occurred. If you (management or ownership) don’t find out for several hours, that an injured employee was admitted for treatment, that is when the clock starts.
In the Southeast, we have several states, VA, NC and SC that are “State Plan” states. This means that OSHA is a state agency. In other states, FL, GA, and AL OSHA is Federal OSHA. The reporting requirements listed above are Federal rules and apply to Federal OSHA covered locations. Some states may not have adopted these rules at this time while other states may have. For example SC has not yet (but will) adopted these new rules but NC has. Virginia is somewhere in between at this point. The best practice is to report as if all states have adopted the Federal rules because at some point all state plan states will be required to adopt these rules.
It can get worse. There has been a proposal to require all the OSHA 300 logs to be uploaded electronically and that the data be searchable. We are opposed to this requirement and have made comments to OSHA. We are monitoring this closely and will let you know if things change further.