The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) created new guidelines for reporting workplace accidents, replacing the standard guidelines that have been in place for some time. The new regulations are meant to bring attention to work safety issues that employers need to change in order to create a safer work environment. The rules now require the following:
1) Fatalities: an employer must file a detailed report of an employee fatality within 8 hours of the accident
2) Severe Injuries: an employer must file a report within 24 hours after an accident resulting in severe injuries to an employee including any hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
These reports must also now be filed regardless of the size of the business. Under the former rules, reports were only required if three or more workers were killed or injured. These new standards will presumably prompt employers to take closer notice when an accident occurs, in order to prevent similar accidents in the future. A report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in the U.S. in 2013.
The new regulations are receiving some scrutiny by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is concerned that single-employee accidents will raise questions of whether it was actually work-related or caused by something else. The new standards will become effective January 1, 2015; the effect of those standards remains to be seen.