OSHA Pushes Employers on Reporting On the Job Injuries: Will Workers Be Safer at Work?

OSHA Pushes Employers on Reporting On the Job Injuries: Will Workers Be Safer at Work?

The federal government via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is pushing for employers to provide more information to authorities on the details of accidents and injuries that happen to workers on the job in this country. The proposed final rule, 29 CFR 1904, will make it federal law that employers must report all fatalities within 8 hours of the death as well as report serious injuries involving “all work-related in-patient hospitalizations,” like amputations or the loss of an eye within 24 hours of the incident.

This will go into effect on January 1, 2015.  Read the new OSHA Rule here.

Workers Who Are Seriously Injured On the Job Will Have OSHA Notified Within 1 Day

Here’s how things have changed.

1.  The old rule:

Employers had to report to OSHA:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees

2.  Now, employers have to report the following events to OSHA; employers have to report to OSHA beginning on January 1, 2015 – and they’re under a time deadline now, too:

All work-related fatalities
All work-related in-patient hospitalizations of one or more employees
All work-related amputations
All work-related losses of an eye
Employers must report work-related fatalities within 8 hours of finding out about it.  For any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss employers must report the incident within 24 hours of learning about it.

Does This Make Workers Safer?

Employers are concerned that this new federal rule may increase how often OSHA appears on the worksite and hands out citations.  But consider the reality that workers die every day while working on the job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 4,405 workers died on the job in 2013.  That’s 12 workers per day.

Additionally, millions of people are injured while at work. According to the BLS, in 2010 there were 3,063,400 workers who were hurt in non-fatal injuries and illnesses and together, they missed 933,200 days from work as a result.

797 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries in 2013.  Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 17 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2013.

Construction Work is the Most Dangerous

In 2013, OSHA’s records of workers who died on the job totalled 3929 (or 76 workers/week or 11 workers every single day of the year). Of these fatalities, 20.3% were on construction sites. Out of these construction worker fatal accidents, four types of accidents were the most common and have been called the “fatal four” causes of construction worker deaths. They are:

  1. Falls — 294 out of 796 total deaths in construction in CY 2013 (36.9%)
  2. Struck by Object — 82 (10.3%)
  3. Electrocutions — 71 (8.9%)
  4. Caught-in/between — 21 (2.6%)

Will the new reporting rules effective January 2015 make construction work safer? Time will tell, but any steps taken to make American workers safer is a step in the right direction.

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