The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (also referred to as the OSH Act) was signed into law to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. The OSH Act established that employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA, a division of the United States Department of Labor, has the power to set and enforce workplace protective safety and health standards, and also provides training and other assistance to employers and workers.
OSHA injury/illness reporting requirements
Currently, regulations require employers to report certain occupational injuries and illnesses directly to OSHA within 8 hours of finding out about it.
- All work-related employee fatalities; and
- All work-related inpatient hospitalizations of three or more employees.
Effective on January 1st, 2015, the following must be reported directly to OSHA:
- Work-related employee fatalities must be reported to OSHA within eight hours of finding out about it;
- Work-related inpatient hospitalizations – regardless of how many employees are hospitalized – must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours of finding out about it; and
- Work-related amputations and any loss of eye must also be reported to OSHA within 24 hours of finding out about it.
Employers will several methods through which to report these incidents directly to OSHA:
- Via telephone by calling OSHA’s 24-hour hotline at (800) 321-OSHA (6742);
- By calling or visiting the nearest OSHA office during normal business hours; or
- Electronically through OSHA’s web site (this reporting method is still under development).
OSHA recordkeeping requirements
Under current OSHA recordkeeping regulations, “covered” employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious workplace injuries and illnesses so that workplace hazards can be evaluated and understood. The recordkeeping is done using OSHA’s 300 Logs.
However, certain employers are considered “partially exempt.” They are still held to OSHA’s reporting requirements for serious injuries and illnesses, as noted before. However, these “partially exempt” employers are not required to routinely maintain OSHA injury and illness records. The following employers are considered “partially exempt”:
- Employers in certain low-hazard industries are partially exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. Effective January 1st, 2015, there will be a new list of industries that will be “partially exempt” – this list is available on OSHA’s web site.
- Employers with ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from keeping OSHA records, regardless of their industry classification. This remains unchanged as of January 1st, 2015.
For more information
For more information, contact your insurance agent or safety professional. This information, and more, is available on OSHA’s web site at:
This article was also published in the Elburn Chamber of Commerce November 2014 newsletter.