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All businesses need to be aware the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has revised its recordkeeping rule to improve timeliness and accuracy of reports it receives relating to fatalities and severe work-related injuries and illnesses. According to OSHA, the revised reporting requirements “will enable the agency to identify the workplaces where workers are at the greatest risk and target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources accordingly.” While these modifications have originally been made at the federal level, the North Carolina Department of Labor’s OSH Division will be required to adopt this rule modification. The revisions are effective January 1, 2015.

The first change updates the list of industries exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records. The exemptions are based upon historically low occupational injury and illness rates. The previous list of exempt business was based upon the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system together with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new list of exempt industries is based upon the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) also with data from the Bureau. As before, all employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from the routine reporting requirements regardless of industry classification.

OSHA continues the long-standing requirement for all employers, regardless of the number of employees, to orally report any work-related fatality to OSHA within 8 hours of the fatal incident. However, the revised rule expands the list of severe workplace injuries which employers, regardless of size, must report to OSHA. Employers must now orally report to OSHA, within 24 hours of the incident, all work-related accidents or illnesses which result in inpatient hospitalization, amputations or the loss of an eye.

There are limitations on the new reporting requirements. Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported. Further, only hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye must be reported if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.

It is anticipated that increased reporting of serious injuries under the revised rule will allow for more focused and increased enforcement activities targeting specific businesses or industries with a higher than acceptable injury or fatality record.

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