U.S. Toughens Injury Reporting Regs
Sharpening its focus on severe injuries in the workplace, the U.S. will step up accident reporting requirements for employers as of Jan. 1.
The new Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements–NAICS Update
and Reporting Revisions, released Thursday (Sept. 11), detail additions, exemptions and other changes to employer notifications when an employee is killed or seriously injured on the job.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule will relieve certain pipeline, architecture, engineering and other employers of routine recordkeeping, but other employers will see new requirements.
And everyone covered by the OSH Act will have to report if an employee requires hospitalization or suffers amputation or the loss of an eye.
4,405 Worker Deaths
The announcement of the final rule follows preliminary results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2013 National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which showed 4,405 workplace fatalities in 2013.
"We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."
OSHA officials say the reporting revisions, first proposed in June 2011, will help the agency identify and focus on workplaces and industries where the most severe injuries are occurring.
OSHA estimates that the new rule will bring $19.2 million in new costs to employers and $11.5 million in savings for other employers—a net annualized cost of $7.7 million.
The rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
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Covered employers will be required to report within 24 hours any single instance of an in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. More than 4,400 Americans were killed on the job in 2013.
Employers in states with state-run OSHA plans are advised to check with their agencies for the implementation date, but federal OSHA is encouraging a Jan. 1 deadline for all states.
The new rule reflects two key changes.
First, it updates the list of lower-risk industries partially exempted from the recordkeeping requirement. The previous list was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and on data from the 1990s.
The new rule is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and on data from 2007-09.
The new rule keeps the recordkeeping exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of their industry.
Second, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries that covered employers must report to OSHA. The rule keeps the current requirement to report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours and adds a requirement to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours.
All employers covered under the OSHA Act—even those exempted from routine recordkeeping by company size or type—must comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.
Currently, employers are required to report only hospitalizations of three or more employees. Going forward, single hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye will have to be reported.
All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act—even those exempted by company size or employer type from maintaining injury and illness records—must comply with the new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.
"Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
OSHA is developing an electronic reporting form for employers, in addition to the phone reporting options.
Who's In, Who's Out
An OSHA Fact Sheet details the industries that are being added to, and partially exempted from, the reporting requirements.
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The new list of industries partially exempted from recordkeeping includes several Pipeline Transportation sectors.
Newly added employers in the building- and construction-related fields include Building Material and Supplies Dealers (NAICS Code 4441); Services to Buildings and Dwellings (5617); Lessors of Real Estate (5311); Activities Related to Real Estate (5313); Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Rental and Leasing (5324); Facilities Support Services (5612); and Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions (7121).
Partially exempt employers in the industry now include Architectural, Engineering and Related Services (NAICS Code 5413); Specialized Design Services (5414); Computer Systems Design and Related Services (5415); Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services (5416); Pipeline Transportation (4861, 4862, 4869); and Schools, Technical Schools, Colleges and Universities (6111 through 6117)
Complete details are available on OSHA's new Recordkeeping Rule site.