OSHA Proposes Changes Concerning Employers and Workplace Injury and Illness Records

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed an update to portions of its Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting regulation; specifically, Appendix A which contains a list of industries that are partially exempt from maintaining records of occupational injuries and illnesses.  The exemptions are applicable to industries with relatively low rates of occupational injuries and illnesses and those with 10 or fewer employees.  The current list of industries is based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.  The proposed rule will update Appendix A, replacing it with a list of industries based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and more recent injury and illness data.  Additionally, there are proposed revisions to Section 1904.39 covering injury reporting.  The proposed rule will require employers to report to OSHA the following:

  1. All work-related fatalities within 8 hours,
  2. All work-related in-patient hospitalizations within 8 hours, and
  3. All work-related amputations within 24 hours.

Current regulations require an employer to report to OSHA within 8 hours all work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees.

History- The industries with partial exemption from recording employee injuries and illnesses, based on lower-hazard industry classification, have been included in the OSHA recordkeeping regulations since 1982.  The list was established by identifying major industry groups with relatively low rates of occupational injuries and illnesses in the SIC codes.  This encompassed retail trade, finance, insurance and real estate as well as other specified service industries. In 2001 OSHA published a final rule which comprehensively revised Part 1904 of the recordkeeping regulations. At that time the list of partially exempt industries was updated.  This is the list being reviewed and for which the proposal aims to make needed changes.  The current rulemaking further satisfies OSHA’s 2009 commitment to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to enhance the records audit process thereby improving the accuracy of worker injury and illness data.

Also, OSHA has required employers to report certain incidents involving employee fatalities or hospitalizations since its beginning in 1971.  Regulatory requirements in 29 CFR 1904.8, required employers to report work-related incidents resulting in at least one fatality or the hospitalization of at least five employees within 48 hours after the occurrence.  In 1994, the Agency revised reporting requirements from 48 hours to 8 hours.  Revising the time from 48 to 8 hours gave OSHA inspectors more immediate opportunities to preserve, collect and investigate incidents, thereby providing more timely and accurate information. The latest proposal is intended to provide information necessary to help ensure America’s workers have safe and healthful workplaces.

OSHA welcomes comments and data from the public regarding any aspects of the proposed lower-hazard industry partial exemption.  The Agency is accepting comments, which must be submitted by September 20, 2011.  Comments can be submitted in several ways: by mail, fax, hand delivery, messenger or courier service, or electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/.  All comments must include the docket number (OSHA-2010-0019) or the RIN (RIN 1218-AC50).

Visit Compliance Poster Company’s website for the latest in developments on this proposed rulemaking and other labor law news and current labor law products to keep your business in full compliance with state, federal and local laws.

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