The agency has proposed that employers be required to report any work-related fatalities and all inpatient hospitalizations within eight hours, and work-related amputations within 24 hours. The current regulations require employers to report to OSHA within eight hours all work-related fatalities and inpatient hospitalizations of three or more employees.
Additionally, OSHA is proposing to update Appendix A of the recordkeeping rule that lists industries partially exempt from the requirements to maintain work-related injury or illness logs. The industries received partial exemption "because of their relatively low injury and illness rate," OSHA said.
The comment period was extended by several weeks in response to a stakeholder request.
Among the 94 comments submitted so far are some from businesses opposing the requirements as placing an unfair burden on employers. "Employers would be required to report injuries that may not warrant OSHA's attention and OSHA would be using their already scarce resources on analysis of these cases," said a St. Louis-based electric and natural gas utility company. "Employers would bear an additional burden of revising company procedures and training. Additional expense would be involved for both the employer and OSHA for visits and inspections."
A glass-packaging company objected to the timing of notification, saying in some cases it is based on decisions that are outside the control of the employer. For example, the employee may have sought medical attention without notifying the employer or the medical facility may have made a decision about the employee's case such as to admit the employee without the employer knowing, it said.
Other organizations supported the proposed revisions. A Kentucky-based group that supports those affected by work-related deaths or injuries said the current reporting requirement when three or more workers are hospitalized "is wholly inadequate. OSHA needs to be informed about every work-related hospitalization to decide whether other workers are at risk."However, the organization said OSHA should clarify whether the hospitalization requirement applies to chronic conditions as well as acute, traumatic injuries and illnesses. "Reporting of such non-emergency hospitalizations necessitated by work conditions could be reported through an online system rather than requiring the employer to make the report and OSHA staff to take the report by telephone."
The Kentucky-based organization also criticized OSHA's eight-hour reporting requirement, saying that is "far too long a time period." It proposed requiring an employer to immediately notify federal or state OSHA of a fatality or serious incidents and noted the Mine Safety and Health Administration's regulations "require employers to notify the agency of serious incidents within 15 minutes."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 20, 2011
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