The Employer's Legal Resource: OSHA Final Rule Expands Reporting Requirements and Exempt Industries List
On September 11, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a final rule updating the list of industries that are partially exempt from OSHA's requirement to track and record work-related injuries and illnesses and expanding the requirements for immediate reporting of work-related fatalities and serious injuries.
Although OSHA has statutory authority to require all employers to keep workplace injury records, certain industries are exempt from day-to-day OSHA recordkeeping due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates. These employers are not required to keep logs and records of every recordable injury or illness unless requested to do so by OSHA. Previously, OSHA's list of exempt industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification from 2001. The updated list is based on more recent injury and illness data and lists industry groups classified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). OSHA believes that the change from SIC to NAICS will improve the quality of injury and illness date because NAICS represents a more modern industry classification. It should also lower the opportunity for errors in reporting the industry to which a specific employer belongs.
The final rule also revises the requirement for reporting work-related fatalities and serious injuries to OSHA. Previously, all employers were required to report to OSHA work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees within 8 hours of the event. Under the final rule, employers are still required to report to OSHA a work-related fatality within 8 hours of the event, but also must report all work-related, in-patient hospitalizations, as well as amputations and losses of an eye to OSHA within 24-hours of the event. In-patient hospitalizations occur when an employee is "formally admitted" to a hospital or clinic for at least one overnight stay. Employers can report these events by calling their local OSHA office during business hours or by calling OSHA's 24-hour hotline. OSHA will soon rollout an online reporting tool.
The final rule becomes effective January 1, 2015. To assist employers with compliance, OSHA has developed a website detailing the amendments and providing answers to key questions:
Finally, OSHA also identified the 10 most cited OSHA violations for 2014. Once again, OSHA issued more citations for fall protection than any others. Other top citations included scaffolding and ladder violations, hazard communications, and respiratory protection. Employers should ensure they are complying with all regulations in these oft-cited areas.
By Kenneth T. Short, firstname.lastname@example.org