January 1, 2015 marks the first day that companies are subject to new reporting requirements established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Employers need to be aware of the new reporting requirements so they can fulfill their obligations. Workers also need to know the rules to ensure that their workplace injuries are properly documented.
A Charlotte work injury attorney knows that accurate reporting of workplace injuries is essential to increase the safety of employees and improve working conditions. OSHA and other regulators need to know the top causes and types of injuries to try to make effective rules to improve safety. Employers and employees also need to be aware of what the biggest risks to workers are so they can take the necessary steps to correct conditions that cause workplace accidents.
Understanding the New OSHA Reporting Requirements
As of January 1, 2015, all employers are required to report workplace fatalities within eight hours of the time that the death occurs. Employers also must report inpatient hospitalizations of workers; all amputations due to work accidents; and all situations in which a worker loses an eye. These non-fatal incidents must be reported within a 24 hour period from when the incident occurs.
Prompt reporting is essential because reporting can trigger an OSHA investigation. Many workplaces are not inspected by OSHA on an ongoing basis because OSHA is understaffed and there are too few investigators. News of an injury alerts OSHA to a problem and an investigation into the cause of a worker’s death or serious injury can begin. The sooner the agency is notified of a workplace injury, the more rapidly it can react before evidence of safety violations is lost.
OSHA has also made changes regarding what industries need to keep illness and injury records. The old list of industries required to keep records was based on an older Standard Industrial Classification System SIC) and was based on federal injury data that was collected decades ago from 1986 to 1988. The new list of industries that must keep records is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is much more updated. The new list is also based on federal data on injuries that was collected between 2007 and 2009.
Among the industries that are now required to keep records that were not before include:
- Car dealers.
- Bakeries and manufacturers of tortillas.
- Dealers of building materials and supplies.
- Speciality food stores.
- Beer, liquor and wine stores.
- Real estate lessors.
- Companies that provide rental goods to consumers.
- Performing arts companies.
OSHA has announced its intention to immediately begin enforcing its new reporting requirements at the start of January. Injuries may be reported at local OSHA area officers; by calling the national agency at 800-321-6742; or using a new online form that is expected to be ready starting in mid-January. If the online form is used, employers who report an injury will get email confirmation that the report has been transmitted.
Contact the North Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
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