The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has introduced new, stricter rules to ensure that companies are prompt to report injuries sustained by their employees in the workplace. Starting on January 1, employers will have to report workplace fatalities within eight hours of their occurrence, and hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye within 24 hours.
"Hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said Assistant Secretary of Labor David Michaels, who heads OSHA.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez released a statement, saying, "Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy. Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."
While companies with 10 or fewer employees are not required to keep records of illnesses and injuries, they will have to comply with these new OSHA regulations in case of death or serious injury. OSHA also updated its list of industries that are exempt from keeping records due to very low occupational injury rates, based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As OSHA continues its efforts to reduce workplace injuries, so too should companies implement measures to keep their workers safe. For especially hazardous industries, accident prevention, construction site and oilfield safety training are all readily available to ensure compliance with federal rules and regulations.