In a press release issued September 11, 2014, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the final rule for Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements.
The regulation went into effect on January 1, 2015, for federal plan states.
The Commonwealth of Virginia operates its own OSHA plan and was required to adopt its own reporting requirements and effective date. On March 17, 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill
No.1681, “Workplace Safety; Employer Reporting Requirements”.This statute brings some major new changes for most employers. It adopts new reporting rules for Virginia and will become effective in the Commonwealth on July 1, 2015.
The rule expands the list of severe injuries that all OSHA-covered industries must report to the agency, regardless of company size or partial exemption status. Under the new rule:
- A fatality (within 30 days of the work-related incident) must still be reported within eight hours of the death.
- Virginia employers will now have only an eight-hour window to report all work-related inpatient hospitalizations to Virginia OSHA. These reported hospitalizations require care and treatment of a single employee, all amputations, and all losses of an eye. This is a move away from OSHA’s previous less stringent reporting requirements, which mandated reporting only in-patient hospitalizations involving three or more employees in addition to reporting of any work-related fatalities. Employers were not required previously to report incidents resulting in a single hospitalization, amputation, of loss of an eye.
Clarifications and Definitions: The changes will not require employers to report a hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing. Employers must only report to OSHA each in-patient hospitalization that involves care or treatment.
Methods of Reporting: The available methods of reporting by the employer have also been expanded. In the final rule, employers have three options for reporting the fatality,in-patient hospitalization,amputation, or loss of an eye:
- By telephone or in person to the OSHA area office that is nearest to the site of the incident.
- By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central number,1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
- By electronic submission using the fatality/injury/illness reporting application located on OSHA’s public website at www.osha.gov.
Public Disclosure: Significantly and most troubling during its press conference announcing the change, OSHA stated that it will make an employer’s report of all fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations,or eye losses available publicly on the OSHA website.
Motor Vehicle Accidents: Under the final rule, if a motor vehicle accident occurs in a construction work zone and results in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, then it MUST be reported. If a motor vehicle accident occurs on a public street or highway-but NOT in a construction work zone-the incident DOES NOT have to be reported, regardless of level of injury. However, the RESULT of the accident-what actually occurred (fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye)-must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records if you are required to keep such records (Section 1904.39 (b)(3)).
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