The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with developing rules and regulations aimed at ensuring workplace safety for employees. The U.S. Department of Labor’s agency may at times feel it necessary to update existing rules when it feels that the current regulations do not properly protect workers in California or in any other state from risks of workplace injury. Some recently released statistics may have played a role in OSHA’s most recent upgrade to its workplace safety rules.
The recent report revealed that 4,405 workers had died while on the job during 2013. This has prompted OSHA to make its current rules on reporting workplace injuries and accidents more strict. Starting in the beginning of next year, employers will be required to report accidents to OSHA that result in a death within eight hours. Employers will also be required to report accidents resulting in a worker being hospitalized, undergoing amputation or losing an eye within 24 hours of the incident.
This change is significantly stricter than the current rules, which only require reporting of work-related incidents when they involve the deaths or hospitalization of three or more workers. OSHA has taken some action to make adherence to the new rules easier for employers, including creation of a special Web portal for electronically reporting incidents, along with maintaining the options of reporting via phone. The idea behind requiring employers to report serious incidents faster is to begin possible changes to the workplace environment earlier in order to better prevent future accidents.
Despite the stricter safety reporting rules, there will still be many people who will suffer from a workplace injury in California or elsewhere. These may be difficult times for these individuals, especially if their injuries cause them to not be able to earn income. On the other hand, workers who are injured on the job will usually be able to obtain benefits through workers’ compensation in order to be assisted during their time of financial hardships.
Source: Tribune-Star, “OSHA announces new requirements for reporting severe injuries“, Sept. 21, 2014