March 17, 2016 · Volume 15, Issue 7
SPECIAL EDITION

Evaluation: First year of OSHA injury reporting requirement helps agency engage with employers and focus resources where needed

Since Jan. 1, 2015, employers have been required to report any severe work-related injury – defined as a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye – within 24 hours. (The requirement to report a fatality within 8 hours was unchanged.)

During the first full year of a new reporting requirement, employers reported 10,388 severe injuries, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. For more statistics and the evaluation of the impact of the new requirements, see the full report*

In the majority of cases, OSHA asked employers to conduct their own incident investigations and propose remedies to prevent future injuries. OSHA provided employers with guidance materials to assist them in this process. Known as a Rapid Response Investigation, this collaborative, problem-solving approach invites the employer and an area OSHA expert to work together toward the shared goal of fixing hazards and improving overall workplace safety. At other times, the agency determined that the hazards described warranted a worksite inspection.

"In case after case, the prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn't have had contact with otherwise," said report author David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers." Read Dr. Michaels' blog for examples of workplace safety success stories that resulted from collaboration between employers and OSHA.

Severe Injury Reports 2015
Injury types RRI Inspection
Amputation 41.34% 58.66%
Hospitalization 69.46% 30.54%
Total 62.13% 37.87%

An evaluation of 2015 results found that the requirement met its intended goals of helping OSHA focus resources where they are most needed, and engaging employers in high-hazard industries to identify and eliminate hazards.

"OSHA will continue to evaluate the program and make changes to improve its effectiveness," Dr. Michaels wrote in the report. "And we are seeking new ways to make sure that small employers know about their reporting obligations and the resources available to them."


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