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New OSHA Rules Have Many Shaking Their Heads

Posted on: October 14th, 2014

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Medical emergencies in the workplace

New OSHA rules to take effect Jan. 1, 2015

Businesses are shaking their heads at the new OSHA rules that are coming online. To many, it’s quickly becoming a full-time job keeping up with new regulations and reporting requirements.

The recent action by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), to take effect January 1st, 2015, changes the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for employers to report incidents.

In our opinion, the new rules place an undue burden on all employers, especially small businesses.

New OSHA Rules – Reporting time frames

OSHA will now require employers to report, within eight hours, any work-related fatality; and within 24 hours, any work-related in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or work-related amputations or loss of an eye by employees.

Current rules only require that work related fatalities or hospitalization of three or more employees were to be reported to OSHA immediately.

Further, the new rule excludes reporting fatalities and other covered events if they occurred on a public street, not in a construction work zone or if they occurred on commercial or public transportation. So you have to do a little sleuthing to determine if you need to report the incident or not.

New OSHA Rules – Industry Exemption Changes

Current OSHA regulations exempt employers from keeping injury and illness logs if they have 10 or fewer employees; and/or if businesses are in a specified low-hazard industry sectors.

The new rule keeps the partial exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees intact, but makes some significant changes to the list of exempted industries.

Under the new rule, establishments that fall into one of the 82 listed National American Industry Classification System codes are exempt from the requirement to maintain injury and illness records, unless requested to do so. This list has been comprised of establishments in the divisions of retail trade; finance, insurance, real estate, and the service industry with some restrictions. Find out if your industry is exempted.

But these establishments are required, as with other employers, to report work-related fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye.

The new list drops 36 industries previously required to keep injury and illness records, but it adds a new list of 25 industries that were previously exempt, like automobile dealers, bakeries, liquor stores, museums, performing arts, and more surprises.

Here’s a head start – Recordkeeping forms

Our Opinion

We’re all for safety and collecting data to better assess workplace risk of injury. However, we question the timing of the new rules with a sluggish economy. We are also concerned about the patchwork of rules that make it hard to determine if you should maintain logs and when you need to report incidents.

Bottom line – it might just be easier for all size businesses to maintain an injury log and submit all incidents to OSHA and let the Fed figure it out!

What do you think?

MassPay assists clients with navigating all of the rules and regulations that impact small to mid-sized businesses to keep them in compliance. Contact us to see how we can help.


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