OSHA hopes to improve workplace safety with new reporting rule

Under a new rule, employers now have enhanced reporting requirements for workplace accidents.

In an effort to increase safety in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the implementation of new reporting requirements for employers in the United States.

The new rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015, requires employers to report many on-the-job incidents that result in employees suffering injuries.

Currently, employers must report when a worker dies in a workplace accident or when an incident results in three or more employees requiring hospital care.

The new rule will require employers to report any workplace accident in which an employee requires hospitalization. In addition, they must report incidents in which an employee loses an eye or must undergo an amputation.

Under the requirements of the new rule, employers will have eight hours to report incidents in which an employee is killed on the job. Employers will have up to 24 hours to report workplace accidents in which an employee is hospitalized, loses an eye or suffers an amputation.

In 2013, 4,405 workers died while on the job in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The hope is that an unsafe working environment will be exposed following an incident that results in an amputation or hospitalization. As a result, employers should then have an opportunity to make the necessary changes to improve safety at the workplace before a worker is killed on the job.

While OSHA does not intend to investigate each report of a hospitalization, it will have some amount of interaction with employers following such reports. This tactic should encourage employers to make necessary improvements to safety in their workplaces before a more serious event takes place.

Report your work injury and file for workers' compensation

When a worker is injured on the job - regardless of the type of injury - he or she should report the injury to the employer. Providing notice to the employer of a dangerous workplace situation will hopefully ensure that the employer will take steps to improve safety conditions in the workplace, to prevent further incidents.

In addition, those injured while at work should consider filing for workers' compensation benefits. The medical expenses following a serious injury can be significant, and the injured party should not be left on the hook for those costly bills. In such situations, it is a good idea to talk to a skilled workers' compensation attorney. A legal professional will work on the injured party's behalf to ensure his or her rights are protected.

Keywords: OSHA, workplace accident