RISK INSIGHT: Key Changes to OSHA Requirements for 2014-15

Property & Casualty, Risk

OSHA Expands Requirements for Reporting and Provides a New List of Exempt Employers

A final rule announced September 11, 2014 requires employers to notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule also updates the list of employers that are partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping requirements. These changes are effective January 1, 2015 for workplaces under OSHA’s jurisdiction.

New Reporting Requirements

Under the new rule, employers are still required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Prior to the new rule, OSHA regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. Reporting for a single employee was added under the new rule.

Changes to Recordkeeping Requirements

OSHA regulations require certain employers to routinely keep records of serious employee injuries and illnesses. However, there are two classes of employers that are partially exempt from routinely keeping records. First, employers with ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. OSHA’s revised recordkeeping regulation maintains this exemption.

Second, establishments in certain low-hazard industries are also exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. Since 1982, this list has been comprised of establishments in the divisions of retail trade; finance, insurance and real estate; and the service industry. An establishment in these sectors made the list if the three-year average lost workday case rate for their major industry group was 75 percent or less of the overall three-year average lost workday case rate of the private industry. OSHA’s revised recordkeeping regulation provides an updated list of low-hazard industries that are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. The new list of exempt industries is now classified by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The injury and illness rate threshold is based on more recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data.

OSHA and NIOSH Recommendations for Protecting Temporary Workers

On August 25, 2014, OSHA along with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a recommended practices publication directed at staffing agencies and host employers in regards to protecting temporary workers from job hazards. The publication focuses on the fact that both staffing agencies and the host employers are jointly responsible for maintaining safe working conditions for these employees. The recommended practices include:

  1. Staffing agencies evaluating a host employer’s worksite;
  2. Training agency staff to recognize safety and health hazards;
  3. Exchanging injury and illness prevention programs to ensure a robust overall program;
  4. Assign occupational safety and health responsibilities;
  5. Host Employer informing agency of illnesses and injuries;
  6. Agency providing an injury and illness prevention program identical to host employer; and
  7. The agency keeping in contact with employees.

Key Takeaways

1. Employers need to ensure that they have made the proper updates to their policies and procedures to comply with the new OSHA reporting and recordkeeping requirements effective January 1, 2015.

2. Employees provided by staffing agencies are due the same level of protection from workplace hazards as other employees. Because temporary workers are at an increased risk of work-related injury or illness, a host employer and the staffing agency should work together in providing a comprehensive program to protect the safety of these workers.

See OSHA’s Website for more information on how to protect temporary workers

See NIOSH’s Website for information on reports of temporary worker fatalities

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