New Federal OSHA Injury Reporting Rules Now in Effect

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently announced the adoption of new, more stringent reporting requirements under its recordkeeping rule.  This new rule, which went into effect January 1, 2015, revises the requirements for reporting work-related fatality, injury and illness information.

Previously, OSHA’s recordkeeping regulation required employers to report to OSHA workplace-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees.  Employers had to make this report within eight hours of the event.  The revised rule brings changes to the in-patient hospitalization reporting requirements and adds a requirement that employers report amputations and the loss of an eye as a result of a work-related incident.  Under the new rule, employers in states subject to federal OSHA jurisdiction must report, within 24 hours, all work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees, amputations, and eye losses.  The requirement to report these incidents applies to all such incidents taking place within 24 hours of the work-related incident.  The requirement to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours is still in place.  Like under the previous rule, employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from maintaining illness and injury records, though they have the same obligations to report fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and eye losses.

Ohio is regulated by federal OSHA, so Ohio employers are subject to these new reporting requirements.  Some states, like Kentucky, have adopted their own state OSHA plans.  However, states which have taken this step will be required to adopt reporting requirements that are at least as strict as the rules announced by federal OSHA.

Under Kentucky’s current plan, in addition to reporting workplace fatalities and hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours, employers are required to report any amputations or the hospitalization of one to two employees within 72 hours following the incident.  The clock for reporting starts to run from the time the incident is reported to the employer, the employer’s agent, or another employee.  Kentucky’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board will have to compare the state’s current reporting regulation with the new federal rule to determine if any changes need to be made.  Federal OSHA requires state plans to act on new federal standards within six months.

Katie Cassidy Tranter is an attorney in the law firm of Dressman Benzinger LaVelle, with offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, Crestview Hills, Kentucky, and Louisville, Kentucky.