OSHA Tightens Regulations – What You Need to Know
Effective January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will implement new injury and illness reporting requirements and record-keeping exemptions. The organization announced a final rule containing two amendments to the regulations on September 11, 2014.
On September 11, 2014, OSHA announced changes to the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records, and to the list of severe work-related injuries and illnesses that all covered employers must report to OSHA. These new requirements will go into effect on January 1, 2015 for workplaces under Federal OSHA jurisdiction.
First Amendment Change
The first change from OSHA focuses on reporting injuries and fatalities. Previously, employers needed to report only “work-related fatalities and the inpatient hospitalization of three or more employees.” Following the amendment, employers will be required to report even when a single employee suffers a work-related in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.
Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301, available here. Partially exempt industries include establishments in specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries and are listed in Appendix A to Subpart B and here.
Employers who are required to keep Form 300, the Injury and Illness log, must post Form 300A, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, in a workplace every year from February 1 to April 30. Current and former employees, or their representatives, have the right to access injury and illness records. Employers must give the requester a copy of the relevant record(s) by the end of the next business day.
For more information, read the “Do I need to fill out the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses?” brochure (OSHA Publication 3169) HTML.
As used by OSHA:
- Hospitalization: a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment
- Amputations: traumatic loss of limb or partial loss, whether or not bone loss is involved (including fingertip loss), with or without patient hospitalization
The new rule maintains the current requirement for employers to report a work-related fatality eight hours after being informed. The adjustment, however, allows employers 24 hours to report a hospital admission, amputation or loss of an eye. If the latter injuries do not occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident that caused or contributed to it, it does not need to be reported to OSHA. Employers will still be required to report fatalities if the death occurs within 30 days of the work-related incident.
In the past, all incidents were required to be reported via telephone or in-person. Under the new rule, employers now have the option to report through the use of a Web portal that OSHA is developing to file reports electronically.
According to OSHA Assistant Secretary, David Michaels, “OSHA plans to post the employer reports for some severe injuries and illnesses, and for all fatalities, on the Agency’s public website. The reports would then be readily available for unions, public interest groups, the media and any other individuals or organizations to use for any purpose.”
Second Amendment Change
The second change to OSHA regulations is related to record-keeping for injury and illness. The list of industries exempted from keeping records has been updated based on new data. Industries are exempted because of their relatively low occupational injury and illness rates.
The low-hazard exemption rule applies to individual business establishments. “If a company has several establishments that perform different business activities, some of the company’s establishments may be required to keep injury and illness records, while others may be exempt.”
Businesses exempted still must comply with the death and hospitalization notification requirements.
As defined by OSHA, first-aid for record-keeping includes:
- Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for record-keeping purposes)
- Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment)
- Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin
- Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-AidsTM, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-StripsTM (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment)
- Using hot or cold therapy
- Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for record-keeping purposes)
- Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.)
- Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister
- Using eye patches
- Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab
- Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means
- Using finger guards
- Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for record-keeping purposes)
- Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress
Security Assessment / Risk Assessment / Vulnerability Analysis
Understanding your responsibilities for OSHA reporting is an important part of an overall business continuity program. Firestorm evaluates existing physical security structure (facilities, systems, and processes) and assesses how well an organization is protecting its people and property against likely threats including injuries. This site inspection is led by a member of the Firestorm team with subject matter expertise in safety and security related issues.
Firestorm evaluates the facility grounds, building, and existing physical security systems and processes to determine how well key assets are being protected. We also assess how well prepared an organization is to detect, assess, respond to and report incidents. Systems and processes evaluated during the safety and security program evaluation include Environmental Health & Safety/OSHA regulations in addition to:
- Monitoring Access: Employee, guest, and vehicle access points (Guard gates, check-in procedures)
- Video Surveillance: Cameras, lighting, analytics, etc.
- Building Systems: Electronic access control and metal detectors
- Life/Safety Systems: Incident detection, assessment, and response (Fire protection systems, signage and specialized plans for evacuations, fire drills, etc.)
- Space Management: Work areas and working conditions (Lighting, ergonomics and floor layout)
The best time to start is before an accident happens. Every physical area in the world is or will be subject to some type of disaster or hazard. Even though an area has never been a hazard before, there is no guarantee that it will not become one tomorrow. It is a governance responsibility to identify potential hazards, their impact on people and property, and the reporting requirements associated with facilities and employees.
The starting point for reducing disaster risk, and for promoting a culture of resilience and compliance lies in the assessment of the threats and vulnerabilities that most businesses face.
We’d like to help you assure your business is in compliance. Contact us at 770-643-1114 to speak to a senior team member and learn more.
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