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OSHA announces initial success with reporting requirements

A report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has declared that its rule about reporting severe injuries within 24 hours has increased employers' responses to safety hazards. The rule, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, requires employers in Pennsylvania and around the country to immediately inform safety regulators when a worker loses an eye, is admitted to a hospital or suffers an amputation.

The agency intended the fast reporting to act as a way for employers to immediately determine the cause of an accident and correct safety hazards or violations. The process involves answering questions based on the employer's evaluation of an incident. Additionally, OSHA can order that an employer conduct an internal investigation and propose solutions to safety problems. It took this step in 62 percent of cases in 2015. This system speeds the investigation process because OSHA does not have to assign inspectors to the location. The employer instead reports information to the agency.

During the first year of severe injury reporting, OSHA received information about 7,636 worker hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. The manufacturing and construction sectors topped the list for in-patient hospitalizations and amputations.

People who are hurt on the job may be eligible to apply for workers' compensation benefits under their employer's insurance coverage. Benefits could include the furnishing of medical care and treatment as well as a percentage of wages lost during the period of time when the employee is unable to work. An attorney can often be of assistance in the preparation and filing of the required claim and supporting documentation.

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