Do I Need to Report This? Why Consulting An OSHA Safety Consultant Is Essential
If you own a business with fewer than 11 employees, you probably already know that you’re not required to keep regular OSHA records. Does that mean you’re off the hook for reporting to OSHA or complying with OSHA safety training? If only it were that simple! If your company is under OSHA jurisdiction, there are still a few cases in which you’ll have to report an incident to OSHA, regardless of the company’s size, and it’s important that you know what to do, and when you need help. An OSHA safety consultant can help you make a master plan to prevent these incidents and to be prepared to respond if a serious incident does take place.
Incidents You Must Report:
If any of the following occurs with an employee, or a temporary employee your company is currently supervising on a day-to-day basis, you’ll need to make a timely report. Once you or any agent of your company is notified of an incident, and can determine that it was, in fact, a work-related injury or fatality, the clock starts.
- Fatalities – If an employee is killed on the job, you must report this to OSHA within eight hours after being notified of the death, and you determine that the fatality was work-related. If an employee dies due to a work-related issue within 30 days of the incident that caused the fatality, you’ll need to report that, as well.
- In-Patient Hospitalization – If an employee is admitted to the hospital, as opposed to making an emergency room or urgent care visit, due to a job-related illness or injury, you must report the incident to OSHA within 24 hours of being notified. You also need to report to OSHA if, within 24 hours after a work-related incident, an employee is hospitalized for care or treatment. If, for example, there is an incident on the job, and the employee has to be hospitalized 36 hours later because of it, you do not have to report to OSHA. If the employee is admitted to the hospital for observation or testing and does not require treatment, you do not have to report the incident. Any care given at all, though, even if it’s listed on OSHA’s “First Aid List,” like giving Tylenol, makes the visit reportable. If you are uncertain whether or not his hospital visit falls under required reporting, you should seek additional advice.
- Amputation – Within OSHA safety training, the definition of amputation includes partial or complete severing of a limb or appendage, a fingertip amputation, with or without bone loss, or medical amputation resulting from irreparable damage or failed re-attachment. Their definition does not include tissue torn from the body (avulsions), for example the tearing off of a fingernail or toenail); de-gloving (where the skin is torn from the tissue beneath); scalping; severed ears; broken or chipped teeth; or removal of an eyeball (enucleation). Whenever possible, use the medical diagnosis to determine whether or not you need to report an incident: Did the doctor call it an avulsion or an amputation? If the medical diagnosis isn’t available to you, you can refer to the definitions and examples on OSHA’s website, under regulatory text, section 1904.39. In the case of amputation, you have to report the incident within 24 hours of being notified of the incident and determining that the amputation was the result of a work-related incident. If an employee requires amputation in 24 hours after the work-related incident, you have to report that, too.
- Loss Of An Eye – OSHA does not define enucleation (removal of an eyeball) as an amputation, but it still requires reporting, as does loss of an eye due to evisceration. If a work-related incident results in the physical removal or an eye, you’re required to report it within 24 hours. Loss of vision does not fall under this requirement, but might still need to be reported if it requires in-patient hospitalization.
How To Report An Incident
- By Telephone – You can call the OSHA office nearest to where the incident took place, or call the 24-hour OSHA hotline at 800-321-OSHA.
- Online – OSHA’s website now features an event reporting app.
- In Person – You can file your report in person at the OSHA office (locator linked above) closest to the site of the incident.
It’s important to note that you can not report an incident by faxing, emailing, or leaving a message at the local OSHA office, if you need to make a report outside of their office hours. In case of an after-hours incident, you will need to call the 24-hour hotline or use the web app.
(Note: Calling in the incident may/can/probably will lead to an inspection. You should be prepared for this and we can help!)
What Information Will I Need?
When you contact OSHA to report a fatality, injury, or illness, you’ll need to have the following information ready for them:
- Your company’s name
- Location where the incident took place
- Time at which the incident occurred
- Nature and details of the injury or illness
- Number of employees affected by the incident
- Names of any affected employees
- Point of contact at your business
- Brief description of the incident
It’s a good idea to take a few moments to outline your answers before you contact OSHA, so you’re sure you don’t leave out any critical details, and you’re not left scrambling for answers while you talk to them. It’s a stressful situation, and a little preparation can help things go more smoothly.
Why Do I Have to Do This?
Many people who run businesses that aren’t required to keep OSHA records on workplace injuries and incidents wonder why they have to report these particular incidents. OSHA uses these data to study the most serious types of workplace injuries, in an effort to improve regulations that govern workplace safety. This collection of information gives researchers a broad basis to work from, and helps everyone to identify dangerous workplace conditions and practices and improve worker safety in the future.
Need More Help?
If you need help with understanding your business’ OSHA requirements, making sure you’re in compliance, or with planning for a safer work environment, the OSHA Safety Consultants at Optimum Safety Management are ready to help. Planning ahead and providing your employees and managers with OSHA safety training protects your business and your people. Contact us today to learn how we can help.