Last week, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued proposed regulations that would change its injury and illness recordkeeping requirements in two important ways. Under current OSHA rules, employers must report within eight hours any fatality, or any accident resulting in the in-patient hospitalization (defined as an overnight stay) of three or more employees.
Under the new proposal, employers would have to report any in-patient hospitalization regardless of the number of employees affected, resulting from a workplace injury or illness within eight hours of knowledge of such event. The new rule exempts hospitalizations resulting from vehicle accidents on public roads, or hospitalizations that occur more than 30 days after the triggering workplace incident. Employers would also have to report any work-related amputation within 24 hours.
The proposed regulations make no changes to the definition of work-related injuries or illnesses. However, when faced with an eight-hour deadline, employers may feel compelled to report hospitalizations resulting from conditions such as cardiac distress, whose relation to the workplace may not be immediately clear.
The second change would be to revise the list of industries exempt from the OSHA 300 log requirements for recording workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA will shift the list of exempt industries from SIC codes to the NAICS system. Using updated injury data, OSHA proposes to list a number of previously exempt industries, while exempting a smaller number of employers currently subject to the OSHA 300 requirements. The newly covered businesses include automobile dealers, equipment rental businesses and specialty food stores.
The new regulations would apply to states such as North Carolina and South Carolina which enforce their own workplace safety programs. OSHA is accepting comments on the proposed recordkeeping rule changes through September 20, and they can be found here.