OSHA has revised its recordkeeping rule effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Dr. David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health stated, “OSHA will now receive crucial reports of fatalities and severe work-related injuries and illnesses that will significantly enhance the agency’s ability to target our resources to save lives and prevent further injury and illness. This new data will enable the agency to identify the workplaces where workers are at the greatest risk and target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources accordingly.”

Establishments located in states under federal OSHA jurisdiction had to begin complying with the new requirements on Jan. 1. Establishments located in states that operate their own safety and health programs should check with their state plan for the implementation date of the new requirements. This rule applies to all employers under OSHA jurisdiction even if they are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records because of size or their NAICS code is partially exempt. The new rules have expanded the list of severe work-related injuries that all covered employers must report to OSHA. Additional information can be found at www.osha.gov.

Employers must report work-related fatalities within eight hours after the employer learns of the fatality. There are circumstances under which a death does not have to be reported but is required to be recorded on the OSHA log: A death which occurs more than 30 days after the work-related incident; and fatalities resulting from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway (outside of a construction zone) or occurring on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, streetcar, light rail or train). 

Work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputation or eye loss that occurs within 24 hours of a work-related incident must be reported within 24 hours of the employer learning about it. If the hospitalization, amputation or eye loss occurs more than 24 hours after the work-related incident, it does not have to be reported to OSHA but it must be recorded on the OSHA log. 

An inpatient hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the inpatient service of a hospital or clinic for care and treatment. The employer does not have to report an inpatient hospitalization if it is for diagnostic testing or observation only. 

An amputation is defined as the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off or amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputation with or without bone loss; and medical amputation of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions (tissue torn away from the body), degloving (skin torn away from the underlying tissue), scalping (removal of the scalp), enucleation (removal of the eyeball), severed ears or broken or chipped teeth.

Heart attacks are trickier, especially in determining if a fatality or hospitalization is related to a work event or of a personal nature. If in doubt, report the incident and let the relational determination be made as more information becomes available.    

Employers have three options for reporting the event: By telephone to the nearest OSHA area office during normal business hours. A message left on voicemail does not constitute notification; by telephone to the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 800/321-6742; or electronically at www.osha.gov.

When reporting, employers will need to provide the establishment name, the location and time of the work-related incident, the type of reportable event, the number and names of employees involved, the company contact person and a brief description of the work-related incident.