Last September, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the adoption of stricter rules for reporting workplace injuries. After months of talks with industry representatives, those new rules will officially go into effect on January 1, and will increase the need for companies in potentially hazardous businesses to step up their safety measures.
Until New Year’s Eve, companies are only required to report work-related fatalities and incidents that lead to the hospitalization of at least three employees. As of 2015, businesses will have eight hours to notify OSHA of any fatality, and 24 hours for any hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rules were adopted in response to the publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual report, which showed that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013 in the U.S.
“We can and must do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them.”
Assistant Secretary David Michaels, the head of OSHA, called hospitalizations “sentinel events” that indicate the need for improved safety. The agency will open an online portal in order to facilitate the reporting process, and will publish injury reports on its website in an effort to encourage safe practices by targeting companies’ public image.
The most effective way to achieve OSHA compliance is through workplace safety training. With adequate guidance, workers and supervisors alike can learn how to identify and neutralize potential safety hazards. Mastery Technologies offers an array of workplace safety courses to meet companies’ specific needs.