OSHA to Increase Penalties and Fines

What's Changing

On November 3rd it was announced that the Federal Budget Agreement, which was quickly worked out behind closed doors and signed the day before, includes unexpected provisions authorizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to increase penalties for the first time since 1990. The new provision is entitled the "Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015." To the surprise of most observers, the amount of the increase could be as much as 82%.

This law seems designed to compensate for the “freeze” on financial penalty increases that had been in place for the last 25 years. (OSHA had previously been limited by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 which prevented it from increasing penalties.) The Agreement requires OSHA to make a one-time “catch-up” increase to compensate for the more than two decades of no increases. The catch-up increase can't exceed the inflation rate from 1990 through 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is expected to be around 82%.

Assuming OSHA applies the maximum catch-up increase allowed, the current maximum $70,000 fine for a Repeat and Willful violation would grow to as much as $125,000 each. The new act does include a potential exception to the increases. OSHA is allowed to forego following the  guidelines if “increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount will have a negative economic impact [on America]” or “the social costs of increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount outweigh the benefits.” This language gives OSHA considerable latitude to apply these fines as they see fit.

After the one-time “catch-up” increase is implemented, OSHA will then annually increase maximum penalties at a rate equal to the amount of the inflation rate for the prior fiscal year.

OSHA has not yet commented on this development and it is not clear whether it will choose to increase penalties to the full extent allowed. However, based on the consistent comments from the current OSHA administration about the benefits of stiffer regulatory punishments, it’s highly likely that they will implement most, if not all, of the increases.

The initial penalty increases must become effective by August 1, 2016, but we should expect to learn well before then the extent to which OSHA will increase these penalties and fines. The Federal Office of Management and Budget is expected to issue guidance on implementing the bill's provisions by January 31, 2016.


What Should Employers Do Now?

Employers may have several months to anticipate these higher penalties, but action on safety should begin immediately. Workplace safety has benefits that go beyond avoiding expensive penalties.  Workplace safety protects workers, improves morale and can actually help the bottom line profits for all workplaces. Rather than just treating safety as an expense, management should work to develop a business plan to achieve safety goals, avoid fines, and reduce insurance expense and lost time.

To read more articles and information about workplace safety and OSHA compliance, please visit these free online resources from National Safety Compliance:

Workplace Safety & OSHA Forum - your comments, questions and answers

OSHA Trade News Release: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

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October 20, 2015
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries sign alliance to address
machinery, chemical, other hazards in scrap recycling industry

WASHINGTON - A new alliance between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. was recently established to protect the safety and health of workers in the scrap recycling industry, as well as promote understanding of worker rights and employer responsibilities under the OSH Act.

The alliance will focus on workplace hazards associated with powered industrial trucks and other machinery, chemical exposures, hazardous energy sources, and the handling and storage of materials.
“These hazards can result in serious injuries and death for workers in the scrap recycling industry,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “We are pleased to partner with ISRI in developing effective tools to control or eliminate safety and health hazards in this industry.”

During this two-year alliance, OSHA and ISRI will collaborate in creating and revising informational and training resources, encouraging the use of safety and health management systems and other safety performance programs, and promoting OSHA’s compliance assistance resources.
“ISRI’s alliance with OSHA underscores the recycling industry’s commitment to worker safety,” said Doug Kramer, chair of ISRI. “Now with the support of OSHA behind us, ISRI will be able to provide even greater resources for our members to ensure their workers return home to their families every night.”

ISRI is a trade association representing more than 1,600 member companies that include manufacturers, processors, brokers and industrial consumers of scrap commodities such as paper, rubber, plastics, glass and ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Members range from small businesses to multi-national corporations.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources, and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections or any other enforcement benefits.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Protecting Workers During Severe Flood Events

Floods can be serious catastrophes and they are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Floods can be caused by a variety of factors, including a sudden accumulation of rain, rising rivers, tidal surges, ice jams and dam failures.

OSHA and NOAA are working together on a public education effort aimed at improving the way people prepare for and respond to severe weather. This page is designed to help businesses and their workers prepare for floods, and to provide information about hazards that workers may face during and after a flood event.

Workers who have to respond to flooded areas face the greatest risks from floods, but all workers can help protect themselves by preparing evacuation plans and learning about the hazards commonly associated with floods.

The Preparedness page provides information on making an evacuation plan, emergency supply kits, and flood watches and warnings. This planning information can help you ensure that you are ready to evacuate in an orderly manner before rising waters impact your business or residence, or your evacuation routes.

The Response/Recovery page provides useful details on the hazards to avoid when flooding has occurred. This includes areas to avoid when using a vehicle, and safety and health hazards such as downed electrical lines, mold and wild animals.
Employer Responsibilities and Workers' Rights
Each employer is responsible for the safety and health of its workers and for providing a safe and healthful workplace for its workers. Employers are required to protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the flood response and recovery operations that workers are likely to conduct.
OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers. The OSHA at a Glance (PDF*) publication provides information on the strategies and programs OSHA uses to promote worker safety and health. For additional information on Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities, and other services OSHA offers, visit OSHA's Employers Page, Workers Page and Publications.

OSHA Trade News


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September 21, 2015
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA extends comment period for proposed rule clarifying employers' continuing
obligation to make and maintain accurate records of injuries, illnesses

WASHINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is extending the deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule that clarifies an employer's continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness. The comment due date has been extended to Oct. 28, 2015.

OSHA issued this proposed rule in light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor (Volks)* to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness. The proposed amendments add no new compliance obligations; the proposal would not require employers to make records of any injuries or illnesses for which records are not already required.

The proposed rule was published in the July 29, 2015, issue of the Federal Register. Members of the public can submit written comments on the proposed rule at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

US Labor Department awards grants to 80 nonprofit organizations

US Labor Department awards $10.5M in workplace safety and health training grants to 80 nonprofit organizations

Susan Harwood Training Grant Program
OSHA has awarded $10.5 million in one-year federal safety and health training grants to 80 nonprofit organizations across the nation for education and training programs to help high-risk workers and their employers recognize serious workplace hazards, implement injury prevention measures and understand their rights and responsibilities.

OSHA's Susan Harwood Training Grant Program funds grants to nonprofit organizations, including community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, colleges and universities. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries.

In its 2015 award, OSHA is awarding approximately $2.2 million in new, targeted topic training and training and educational materials development grants to 19 organizations to develop materials and programs addressing workplace hazards and prevention strategies. Both grant types require that recipients address occupational safety and health hazards designated by OSHA, including preventing construction hazards and hazardous chemical exposures. In addition, 15 organizations will receive approximately $2.3 million in new capacity-building developmental grants to provide occupational safety and health training, education, and related assistance to workers and employers in the targeted populations. Organizations selected to receive these grants are expected to create organizational capacity to provide safety and health training on an ongoing basis.

OSHA also awarded approximately $3 million in follow-on grants to 20 capacity building developmental grantees and $3 million in follow-on grants to 26 targeted topic grantees that performed satisfactorily during fiscal year 2014. These grantees demonstrated their ability to provide occupational safety and health training, education, and related assistance to workers and employers in high-hazard industries, small-business employers, and vulnerable workers. For more information, see the news release below.

News Release

US Labor Department awards $10.5M in workplace safety and health training grants to 80 nonprofit organizations to help high-risk workers, employers

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10.5 million in one-year federal safety and health training grants to 80 nonprofit organizations across the nation for education and training programs to help high-risk workers and their employers recognize serious workplace hazards, implement injury prevention measures and understand their rights and responsibilities.
For more on the 2015 Susan Harwood training grants, visit www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/ or contact Kimberly Mason at mason.kimberly@dol.gov or 847-759-7700.
The department's Susan Harwood Training Grant Program funds grants to nonprofit organizations, including community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, colleges and universities. Target trainees include small-business employers and underserved vulnerable workers in high-hazard industries.

The fiscal year 2015 award categories are capacity-building developmental, capacity-building pilot, targeted topic training, and training and educational materials development.

"Susan Harwood training grants save lives," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "The hands-on training supported by these grants helps assure that workers and employers have the tools and skills they need to identify hazards and prevent injuries."

In its 2015 award, OSHA is awarding approximately $2.2 million in new, targeted topic training and training and educational materials development grants to 19 organizations to develop materials and programs addressing workplace hazards and prevention strategies. Both grant types require that recipients address occupational safety and health hazards designated by OSHA, including preventing construction hazards and hazardous chemical exposures.

In addition, fifteen organizations will receive approximately $2.3 million in new capacity-building developmental grants to provide occupational safety and health training, education, and related assistance to workers and employers in the targeted populations. Organizations selected to receive these grants are expected to create organizational capacity to provide safety and health training on an ongoing basis. Two of the 15 organizations received capacity-building pilot grants designed toassist organizations in assessing their needs and formulating a capacity-building plan before launching a full-scale safety and health education program.

OSHA also awarded approximately $3 million in follow-on grants to 20 capacity building developmental grantees and $3 million in follow-on grants to 26 targeted topic grantees that performed satisfactorily during fiscal year 2014. These grantees demonstrated their ability to provide occupational safety and health training, education, and related assistance to workers and employers in high-hazard industries, small-business employers, and vulnerable workers.

"The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is an essential component of OSHA's worker protection efforts. This program provides thousands of workers and small employers with hands-on training and education in some of the most dangerous industries," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

Since 1978, approximately 2.1 million workers have been trained through this program. The training grant program honors Susan Harwood, a former director of the Office of Risk Assessment in OSHA's former Directorate of Health Standards, who passed away in 1996.

For more information about the FY 2015 Susan Harwood Training Grant Program recipients, visit
More information on the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is available on OSHA's website at www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/.

Public inquiries should be directed to Kimberly Mason at mason.kimberly@dol.gov or 847-759-7700.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

OSHA News Release: [09/02/2015]
Contact Name: Laura McGinnis or Carrie A. Thomas
Phone Number: (202) 693-4653 or x4667
Email:
McGinnis.Laura.K@dol.gov or thomas.carrie.a@dol.gov
Release Number: 15-1640-NAT


One-fifth of chronic lung disease in construction workers linked to...

One-fifth of chronic lung disease in construction workers linked to asbestos, silica and other on-the-job exposures

Center for Construction Research and Training
A recent study* by the Center for Construction Research and Training and Duke University found that 18 percent of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease among construction workers is caused by on-the-job exposure to vapors, gases, dusts, and fumes such as asbestos, silica dusts, and welding fumes. 

The disease progressively diminishes a person's ability to breathe and is characterized by mucous-producing cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It afflicts more than 13 million people in the U.S., and construction workers are at an increased risk.
Researchers compared the work history, smoking habits, and medical screening results of roughly 2,000 older construction workers with and without COPD between 1997 and 2013. Their findings indicate that, while smoking remains the main cause of COPD, workplace exposure to these hazards pose a more significant risk than previously thought and employers should take appropriate actions to protect workers.

National Safety Stand-Down

Employers and workers all across over the nation and internationally are ready to make history by reaching more than 3 million workers during the two-week 2015 National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction. From May 4-15, millions of participants will pause during their workday to focus on preventing fatalities from falls through talks, demonstrations and trainings. 

Check out the National Safety Stand-Down webpage for details on events across the country; instructions on how to conduct a stand-down and receive a certificate of participation; and free resources in English and Spanish. Videos to promote participation in the Stand-Down, including one with a message from Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, are also available on OSHA's website.

The national stand-down is part of OSHA's fourth annual Fall Prevention Campaign, launched in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Occupational Research Agenda, and CPWR, the Center for Construction Research and Training. For more information, see the news release.

OSHA and National Safety Council urge employers to protect workers from the dangers of distracted driving

April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month and an excellent time to review workplace transportation policies. Each year, more than 35,000 people are killed on America's roads and traffic collisions are the number one cause of workplace deaths.

In a recent guest post on DOL's blog, National Safety Council President and CEO Deborah Hersman explains the dangers associated with distracted driving and describes available tools, including a free cell phone policy kit, to help employers protect workers from these risks.

OSHA reminds employers that they have a responsibility to protect their workers by prohibiting texting while driving. It is a violation of the OSH Act for employers to require workers to text while driving, create incentives that encourage or condone it, or structure work so that texting while driving is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job. For more information, visit our Driving Safety Training web page.
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April 27, 2015

Oklahoma community honors Workers' Memorial Day
at candlelight vigil April 28

Oklahomans remember those who were injured or killed on the job

WHO: David Bates, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Oklahoma City Area Office
State Sen. Susan Paddack
State Rep. George Young

WHAT: Workers' Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil

WHEN: April 28, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. CDT

WHERE: The Oklahoma State Capitol

Fourth Floor Rotunda
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

Background: In 2014, 25 people lost their lives at work in Oklahoma. Every year, American workers report about 3 million serious occupational injuries and illnesses and more than 50,000 die from illnesses attributable to long-term exposure to hazardous materials in the workplace. A recent OSHA report*, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, illustrates the impact these injuries have on the economy.

"Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home, and every year 3 millions of Americans suffer a serious workplace injury. Tragically, these deaths and injuries are preventable with basic safety and health techniques and practices," said David Bates, director of OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office. "No job is a good job unless it's a safe job. Workers should not have to risk their lives or their health while working to provide for their families."

For information and additional resources about Workers' Memorial Day, please visit OSHA's website at: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker_memorial_2015.html. For more information on this event please visit www.okworkersmemorialday.com.

April 28th is Workers' Memorial Day

Every year, nearly four million workers are injured or made sick at work, and more than four thousand die from preventable work-related injuries or illnesses. In a series of Workers' Memorial Day events on and around April 28, OSHA's national and regional offices will remember those who have been lost, disabled, injured, or sickened on the job. On this day we also, in their honor, renew our commitment to protecting the health and safety of every worker.

Workers’ Memorial Day events will be updated on the events calendar over the coming weeks. For more information, visit the Workers' Memorial Day webpage or contact your regional OSHA office.

 Workers Memorial

How to File a Complaint with OSHA: Workers' Rights

Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace -

(a) Each employer --
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

(2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.
29 USC 654
(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct. [Sec 5 Duties of the 1970 OSH Act]
OSHA also provides workers with the right to:
  • Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace;
  • Use their rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination;
  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language you can understand;
  • Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace;
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Get copies of their medical records

How to File a Complaint with OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.
Complaints from employees and their representatives are taken seriously by OSHA. It is against the law for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.

OSHA will keep your information confidential. We can help.

If you think your job is unsafe and you want to ask for an inspection, contact us. It is confidential. If you have been fired, demoted, transferred or discriminated against in any way for using your rights under the law, you must file a complaint with OSHA within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.

Complaint Filing Options

You have these options to file your safety and health complaint:
  1. Online - Go to the Online Complaint Form Written complaints that are signed by workers or their representative and submitted to an OSHA Area or Regional office are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Complaints received on line from workers in OSHA-approved state plan states will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.
  2. Download and Fax/Mail - Download the OSHA complaint form* [En Espanol*] (or request a copy from your local OSHA Regional or Area Office), complete it and then fax or mail it back to your local OSHA Regional or Area Office. Written complaints that are signed by a worker or representative and submitted to the closest OSHA Area Office are more likely to result in onsite OSHA inspections. Please include your name, address and telephone number so we can contact you to follow up. This information is confidential.
  3. Telephone - your local OSHA Regional or Area Office. OSHA staff can discuss your complaint and respond to any questions you have. If there is an emergency or the hazard is immediately life-threatening, call your local OSHA Regional or Area Office or 1-800-321-OSHA.

OSHA Publications and smartphones or tablets

OSHA publications accessible on smartphones and tablets; Safety and Health Information Bulletins available


If you use a smartphone or a tablet on the job, important worker safety and health information is a click away. Dozens of electronic publications can be downloaded at no cost from OSHA's Publications Web page.

Safety and Health Information Bulletins are also now accessible on OSHA's publications page. SHIBs help raise awareness of significant occupational safety and health issues concerning hazard recognition, evaluation and control in the workplace and at emergency response sites. The documents focus on various topics such as bloodborne pathogens, confined spaces, construction operations, and health and safety hazards to help employers and safety professionals provide a safe and healthful workplace for workers.

The costs of failing to protect workers on the job

A new report released by OSHA explores the substantial impact of workplace injuries and illnesses on income inequality Despite the decades-old legal requirement that employers provide workplaces free of serious hazards, every year, more than three million workers are seriously injured, and thousands more are killed on the job. The report states these injuries can force working families out of the middle class and into poverty, and prevents families of lower-wage workers from attaining greater economic opportunity. "For many, a workplace injury or illness means the end of the American dream, and the beginning of a nightmare," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "Employers must do more to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place and insure that when they do, workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled."
Who bears the cost of worker injuries?

OSHA is asking workers who have been affected by the cost of a workplace injury to share their story. For more about this report (PDF*)

Trade News Release: final rule for handling retaliation complaints

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March 6, 2015
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999


OSHA announces final rule on procedures for handling retaliation
complaints under Sarbanes-Oxley Act

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today published a final rule finalizing procedures for handling whistleblower retaliation complaints filed under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The SOX Act protects employees who report fraudulent activities and violations of Securities Exchange Commission rules that can harm investors in publicly traded companies.

"Silencing workers who try to do the right thing is unacceptable," said Assistant Secretary of Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This final rule safeguards investors by protecting whistleblowers who shine a light on illegal or fraudulent conduct that otherwise may go uncorrected."

SOX prohibits publicly-traded companies, nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations, and other covered persons from retaliating against an employee who provides information about conduct that the employee reasonably believes violates federal mail, wire, bank or securities fraud statutes, SEC rules, or any provision of federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.

Workers can file a complaint with OSHA if they believe that their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under SOX. OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs Web page provides instructions on how to file a complaint and information on worker rights and protections.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of SOX and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various workplace, commercial motor vehicle, airline, nuclear, pipeline, environmental, railroad, public transportation, maritime, consumer product, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, food safety and consumer financial reform regulations. Additional information is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Clarification on new reporting requirements (1904.39)

December 16, 2014

Ms. B***
Holland, O

Dear Ms. B***:

Thank you for your recent letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding the recordkeeping regulation contained in 29 CFR Part 1904 รข€“ Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. You ask for specific classification of the new reporting requirements contained under section 1904.39.

Question 1: Please provide the definition of an amputation.

Response: An amputation, for OSHA reporting purposes, is defined under section 1904.39(b)(11). "An amputation is the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth."

Question 2: How do you distinguish between an amputation and an avulsion?

Response: If and when there is a health care professional's diagnosis available, the employer should rely on that diagnosis. If the diagnosis is avulsion, the event does not need to be reported. If the diagnosis is amputation, the event must be reported. If there is no available diagnosis by a health care professional, the employer should rely on the definition and examples of amputation included in the regulatory text of Section 1904.39(b)(11). Examples of avulsion that do not need to be reported include deglovings, scalpings, fingernail and toenail removal, eyelid removal, loss of a tooth, and severed ears. Remember, employers are required to report amputations to OSHA when they learn that the reportable event occurred. The employer must report the event when he or she has information that the injury is a work-related amputation. See, Section 1904.39(b)(8).

Question 3: If an employee loses the very tip of his finger, would this have to be reported to OSHA within 24 hours of the work-related event? What if the employee loses any part of the finger above the first joint?

Response: If the tip of the finger is amputated, the work-related event must be reported. An amputation does not require loss of bone.

Questions 4: Does loss of an eye include loss of sight?

Response: Loss of an eye is the physical removal of the eye, including enucleation and evisceration. Loss of sight without the removal of the eye is not reportable under the requirements of section 1904.39. A case involving loss of sight that results in the in-patient hospitalization of the worker within 24 hours of the work-related incident is reportable.

Question 5: If an employee has to have a glass eye after an event, would this be a reportable event?

Response: The reportability of the loss of an eye is not determined by the type of medical care received to treat the injury. The physical removal of the eye from the socket as a result of a work-related event is a reportable event.

New Reporting Requirements Now in Effect

Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, there is a change to what covered employers are required to report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Employers are now  required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours of finding out about the incident.

On Dec. 11, OSHA held a conversation on Twitter to answer questions about the new reporting requirements going into effect at the beginning of the new year. Some of the most frequently asked questions are discussed in a blog by Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Previously, employers were required to report all workplace fatalities and when three or more workers were hospitalized in the same incident. The updated reporting requirements have a life-saving purpose: they will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards.

Employers will have three options for reporting these severe incidents to OSHA. They can call their nearest area office during normal business hours, call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742), or they will be able to report online. (Please note, that the online reporting will be not be available until mid January.) For more information and resources, visit OSHA's Web page on the updated reporting requirements and watch OSHA's new YouTube video, where Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, explains the new reporting requirements.

As of January 1, 2015:
All employers* must report: 
  • All work-related fatalities within 8 hours
Within 24 hours, all work-related: 
  • Inpatient hospitalizations
  • Amputations
  • Losses of an eye 
How to Report Incident