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OSHA Cushions New Reg with e-Tool Help

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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Uncle Sam has bad news and good news for employers, proposing expanded reporting requirements for injuries and illnesses but providing a new web tool to help with compliance.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking public comment on a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would revise two aspects of the agency’s 10-year-old recordkeeping and reporting requirements for work-related injuries and illnesses.

Hospitalization, Amputation Reporting

Under the new rule, employers would be required to report to OSHA any work-related deaths and all in-patient hospitalizations within eight hours, and report work-related amputations within 24 hours. Currently, employers must report only in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees, and reporting amputations is not required.



The new Web tool helps employers determine reporting requirements for illnesses and injuries on the job.

“These proposed recordkeeping updates will better enable OSHA, employers and workers to identify hazards in high-risk worksites,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA administrator.

“The proposed reporting revisions will enable OSHA to more effectively and efficiently target occupational safety and health hazards, preventing additional injuries and fatalities.”

Industry Changes

OSHA is also proposing to update Appendix A of the rule (Part 1904 Subpart B) that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs. These industries received partial exemption because of their relatively low injury and illness rates, OSHA says.

The current list of industries is based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system; this would be replaced in the reporting rule by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which replaced the SIC system in 1997.

Construction-related businesses have been generally required to keep OSHA illness and injury records, but OSHA is seeking to add “building material and supplies dealers” to the establishments that must do so.

Comments on the proposals must be submitted by Sept. 20.

Web Tool, Site Offer Assistance

For employers unsure about the present and future regulatory environment, OSHA has unveiled a new interactive web tool to help users determine whether injuries and illnesses are work-related and recordable under the OSHA recordkeeping rules. 

The interactive OSHA Recordkeeping Advisor simulates an employer’s interaction with a recordkeeping rules expert. The Advisor relies on the users’ responses to questions and automatically adapts to the situation presented.  Responses are strictly confidential, and the system does not record or store any of the information.

The Advisor helps employers determine: 

• Whether an injury, illness or related event is work-related;

• Whether an event or exposure at home or on travel is work-related;

• Whether an exception applies to the injury or illness;

• Whether a work-related injury or illness needs to be recorded; and

• Which provisions of the regulations apply when recording a work-related injury or illness.

OSHA says the tool can provide basic assistance in understanding the recordkeeping rules, but employers should consult with their OSHA advisor and not rely solely on the e-tool for specific situations involving their company.

OSHA’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping page links to the Recordkeeping Advisor and other guidance materials to help employers understand and comply with Federal recordkeeping and reporting requirements.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA

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