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January 19, 2015

FAQs on OSHA's New Recordkeeping Rule

OSHA's new reporting requirements are now in effect (starting January 1, 2015), even though the online form still is not operational. 

Here's a brief recap of the new rules:

Report All Injuries Immediately
As of January 1, 2015, all employers must report:
  • Work-related fatalities within 8 hours.
  • Work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours.
  • Businesses operating under a state-run OSHA program should contact their state plan for the implementation date.
You can report to OSHA by:
  • Calling OSHA's free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
  • Calling your closest Area Office during normal business hours.
  • Using the new online form that will be ready "soon," but still not available this week.

Your OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook is Obsolete:

As a result of the recent changes, the OSHA Recordkeeping Handbook is no longer current. The Handbook is replaced with Detailed Guidance for OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Rule. OSHA has developed additional guidance to help employers, with an online table of contents providing links to relevant information.

Some key FAQs on reporting requirements:

If the Area Office is closed, may I report by leaving a message on OSHA's answering machine, faxing the Area Office or sending an e-mail?

No, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using either the 800 number (1-800-321-OSHA or 1-800-321-6742) or the reporting application located on OSHA's public website.

I don't have to keep OSHA records because my company has fewer than 11 employees. Do I still have to report these events?
Yes, all employers under OSHA jurisdiction must report fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye to OSHA, even if they are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records.

What information do I have to give to OSHA?

  1. The establishment name
  2. The location of the work-related incident
  3. The time of the work-related incident
  4. The type of reportable event
  5. The number of employees who suffered reportable events
  6. The names of the employees
  7. Your contact person and his or her phone number; and
  8. A brief description of the work-related incident

Do I have to report a covered incident if it resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway?

  • If the accident occurred in a construction work zone, then you must report it to OSHA.
  • If the accident occurred outside a construction work zone, you do not have to report it. However, you must record the event on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

Do I have to report a fatality or in-patient hospitalization caused by a heart attack?
If the heart attack is related to a work-related incident, you must report it. Your local OSHA Area Office director will decide whether or not to investigate the incident.

Do I have to report an in-patient hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing?
No. You must only report in-patient hospitalization that involves care or treatment. 

OSHA guidance on who must keep OSHA records and who is exempt includes:

The new rule establishes an updated list of industries that are partially exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records.
The updated list of industries is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Note: If your company has ten or fewer employees - regardless of the NAICS code - you are partially exempt from routinely keeping injury and illness records.

What does it mean to be partially exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records?
If your establishment is in a NAICS industry that is included in the new list, you will not have to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless you are asked to do so in writing. However, if a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye occurs at your establishment due to a work-related incident, you will still be required to report the event to OSHA, per 29 CFR 1904.39.

Is the partial industry classification exemption based on the industry classification of my entire company or on the classification of individual business establishments operated by my company?
The partial industry classification exemption applies to individual business establishments. If your company has several establishments that perform different business activities, some of your company's establishments may be required to keep records, while others may be partially exempt.

My establishment is in an OSHA State Plan. Do these changes apply to me?
Yes, these changes apply to you. However, depending on which State Plan your establishment is in, the new requirements may go into effect on January 1, 2016, instead of January 1, 2015. Also, some State Plans do not have partial exemptions for low-hazard industries.  Consult with your individual State Plan office for more information.

My establishment no longer has to keep OSHA records. Do I still have to keep the old records and update the old Logs for five calendar years?

No. If you are newly exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records, you no longer have to keep the old records, and you no longer have to update the old Logs.

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