New OSHA reporting requirements in effect for businesses

For employers under the federal jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), new reporting requirements went into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Employers will now be required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours, and all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding about the incident.

Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities, and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident.

There will be three options for employers to report.

They will be able to call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 800-321-6742, or report online.

FAQs on the new rules

Since announcing the new requirements in September, we’ve been conducting extensive outreach to make sure employers understand what to do when they go into effect. We recently held a live Twitter chat to answer questions.

During the chat, we answered over a dozen questions. But we noticed a few that seemed to be on everyone’s mind. So, we decided to share with you a little FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Q: How can an employer confirm the report from an injury has been documented?

A: If you do it online, you will receive email confirmation. By phone, you will be speaking directly to OSHA representatives.

Q: What is the best URL on the OSHA site to point our branch offices to for details of their obligations to report?

A: The best way is to go to:

Q: What constitutes “formal admittance for care”? Surgeries can be either outpatient or inpatient.

A: The hospital or clinic determines whether the worker was formally admitted as an in-patient.

We also have a variety of additional resources for employers including a dedicated webpage, more FAQs, a fact sheet, and a video I recorded to help explain the new requirements. Go to the OSHA link above to access them.

It’s important to remember that these updated reporting requirements are not simply paperwork but have a life-saving purpose: They will help employers and workers prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards.

I think we can all agree that’s something to celebrate in the new year.

David Michaels is the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.