• Imminent OSHA Changes
  • October 8, 2014 | Authors: Jacob E. Roussel; Melissa M. Shirley
  • Law Firm: Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. - Baton Rouge Office
  • Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its Final Rule, substantially altering certain employer record keeping and reporting obligations.

    Historically, OSHA’s regulations partially exempted establishments in certain “lower-hazard” industry groups from injury and illness record keeping requirements. OSHA exempted thousands of employers based on the employers’ Standard Industrial Classification. Under the Final Rule, which becomes effective January 1, 2015, OSHA’s exemption listing will be based upon of the North American Industry Classification System. According to OSHA, the updated exemption listing is based on more recent injury and illness data.

    As a result of the revision, many employers who were once exempted from OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements will now have to maintain OSHA Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses), and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). Among the industries that include establishments that would be newly required to keep records are building material and supplies dealers as well as commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing companies. While employers with ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records, all other employers which are not currently keeping OSHA records should consult the updated listing to determine whether the new reporting requirements are applicable to their business.

    The second change which will be implemented under the new rule as of January 1, 2015 affects the reporting requirements for fatalities and severe injuries or illnesses. OSHA’s current regulations require employers to report to OSHA all work-related fatalities and all hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours. The Final Rule retains the requirement that employers report all work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours. However, the Final Rule amends the current regulation by requiring employers to report to OSHA all work-related in-patient hospitalizations that require care or treatment, all amputations, and all losses of an eye within 24 hours. All employers, including employers who are partially exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA’s reporting requirements.

    The reporting requirement covers fatalities occurring within 30 days of a work-related incident and inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye occurring within 24 hours of a work-related incident. Generally, employers do not have to report fatalities or sever injuries or illnesses resulting from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway. (Although, employers which are required to keep the injury and illness records discussed above must record the event in those records.) However, an event resulting from a vehicular accident which occurred in a construction work zone is required to be reported under this rule. Employers can make the report to the nearest OSHA Area Office during business hours or call OSHA’s 24 hour hotline. Additionally, OSHA is developing an electronic reporting method. The new method reportedly will be available on OSHA’s website in the near future.

    It is highly recommended that all employers familiarize themselves with OSHA’s Final Rule to ensure compliance with these new record keeping and reporting obligations.