Attention all employers: New OSHA reporting and record-keeping requirements

by Christopher Graham and Joseph Kelly

As a new year approaches, your business will have new employment laws and regulations to consider. Effective on January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA, has some more things for you to worry about.

As OSHA’s website states, “With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

There always have been requirements for reporting certain work-related accidents to OSHA. Current regulations require all employers to report “the death of an employee from a work-related incident or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more employees as a result of a work-related incident.” Reporting must be “[w]ithin eight (8) hours” of the incident.

As of January 1, employers must begin reporting every in-patient hospitalization, even involving a single employee, though the reporting deadline is lengthened to 24 hours, from eight.

Employers also must begin reporting every employee amputation or eye loss “as a result of a work-related incident.” The reporting deadline also is 24 hours.

Currently, unless your business is “exempt, if you have at least 10 employees, you also must follow OSHA regulations for keeping records about:

  • work-related fatalities;
  • work-related injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond “first aid”; and
  • significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional–such as a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation, and acute and chronic illnesses such as a skin disease (contact dermatitis), respiratory disorder (occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis), or poisoning (lead poisoning, solvent intoxication).

To determine whether you reach the 10-employee threshold, you must consider full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

Businesses considered exempt have included specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries.

But exemptions will change on January 1. And so if you have at least 10 employees you should consider whether your business will lose its exemption.

Businesses losing the exemption will include:

  • certain real estate-related businesses including building owner-lessors
  • material and supply dealers
  • equipment rental and leasing companies
  • certain retailers

Other businesses may be exempt under the following OSHA list for exemption status. You also can see how your business fits within the North American Industry Classification System or “NAICS,” which will control whether an exemption applies. You can learn more about the NAICS through the United States Census Bureau. And for more information about the new OSHA rules, see OSHA’s website.

It’s also always prudent to consult qualified legal counsel to make sure your business complies with the law.

Tags: OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, record-keeping, employer, employee, death, hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye, NAICS

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