[Webinar] Updates About OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping and Significant Injury Reporting Rules

On Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 1 PM Eastern, join Eric J. Conn, Lindsay DiSalvo, and Dan Deacon, from Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s national OSHA Practice, for a complimentary webinar: “Updates About OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping and Significant Injury Reporting Rules.

OSHA’s controversial E-Recordkeeping Rule has been challenged and criticized by stakeholders since its inception, and finally, last week, the Trump Administration unveiled its Final Amended Rule. However, the Amended Rule did not go nearly as far as many expected or hoped. Indeed, the Amended Rule eliminated only the requirement for large establishments to submit 300/301 data, but did nothing to alleviate the data submission burden on smaller employers, and did not address the controversial anti-retaliation provisions (e.g., limits to post-injury drug testing and safety incentive programs) at all.

Not to be confused with E-Recordkeeping, OSHA’s Significant Injury and Fatality Reporting Rule has created significant new interactions between employers and OSHA since its update in 2015.  Many employers still wrestle with the nuances of when and how to report significant injuries involving hospitalizations, amputations, and fatalities to OSHA.  In particular, employers are struggling to determine what constitutes a reportable hospitalization and amputation.

During this webinar, participants will learn: Continue reading

Reporting In-Patient Hospitalizations to OSHA: Common Misunderstandings and Mistakes

By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. DiSalvo

The regulatory requirement at 29 C.F.R. 1904.39, OSHA’s Fatality and Serious Injury Reporting Rule, which requires employers to report to OSHA certain in-patient hospitalizations, may seem straightforward, but there are several nuances employers routinely miss that affect the determination whether a hospitalization is actually reportable to OSHA.

Although failing to timely report a reportable hospitalization can be cited, and could set up an employer for costly Repeat violations, over-reporting has its own significant consequences.  Reporting hospitalizations very often triggers an on-site enforcement inspection, and OSHA issues a citation at least 75% of the time it conducts an inspection (an even higher percentage for incident inspections).  Moreover, at least 85% of OSHA citations are characterized as Serious, Repeat or Willful, and OSHA’s civil penalty authority has skyrocketed by 80% in the past two years.  Accordingly, it is critical that employers understand the intricacies of what makes an employee’s visit to the hospital a reportable event, and conversely, what does not, so as to avoid unnecessary and costly reports to OSHA.

As we outlined in a prior article discussing OSHA’s updated Fatality and Serious Injury Reporting Rule, under the current reporting requirements, employers must:

“within 24 hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees [that occurs within 24 hours of the work-related incident] . . . report the in-patient hospitalization . . . to OSHA.”

This is a significant change from the prior reporting rule, which required a report to OSHA only if three or more employees were hospitalized overnight.  It was extraordinarily rare that a single workplace incident resulted in the overnight hospitalization of three or more workers, and so the instances of reporting under that rule were infrequent.  The new rule, however, requires a report to OSHA for the hospitalization of a single employee, which has opened the door to thousands more incidents that must be evaluated for possible reporting.

Although the current regulation has increased the number of employee hospitalizations that are being reported to OSHA, many of those incidents reported to OSHA did not actually meet the criteria for reporting, based on a very particular definition of hospitalization and a limited time period for when the hospitalization must occur.  In other words, many incidents are being reported to OSHA (effectively inviting OSHA to conduct a site enforcement inspection) that should not have been reported at all. Continue reading

5 Key Cal/OSHA Issues that California Employers Must Understand – [Webinar Recording]

On July 21, 2016, Andrew J. Sommer and Eric J. Conn, of Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice, presented a webinar regarding important Cal/OSHA issues that all employers who do business in California must understand.

The state of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA, is perhaps the most aggressive and enforcement heavy approved state OSH program in the country.  Cal/OSHA faces many fewer bureaucratic and political obstacles than fed OSHA in developing new rules (really legislation).  Accordingly, California employers face a host of requirements that employers around the country do not.  Likewise, the Cal/OSHA inspection and appeal process creates several unique landmines for California employers.

Participants in last week’s webinar learned the following: Continue reading

“OSHA’s Fatality & Injury Reporting Rule: What We Know After One Year” [Webinar Recording]

On February 11th, Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. Smith of Conn Maciel Carey’s national OSHA Practice Group delivered a complimentary webinar regarding “OSHA’s New Fatality and Injury Reporting Rule – What We Know Now” as part of the Firm’s 2016 OSHA Webinar Series.

To kick off 2015, OSHA rolled-out a major change to its Fatality & Injury Reporting Rule to require employers to contact OSHA thousands of times more often to report incidents, which means many more inspections.  A year into the new reporting regime now, it seemed like the perfect time to take a look at what is being reported to OSHA and what OSHA is doing with all the new reports.

Participants learned about: Continue reading

OSHA’s Web Portal for Fatality and Injury Reporting Goes Live – But Use It with Caution

By Eric J. Conn, Chair of Conn Maciel Carey’s OSHA Practice

In addition to employers’ longstanding obligation to report to OSHA all work-related fatalities within 8 hours, as of January 1, 2015, all employers were required to also begin reporting to OSHA within 24 hours, all work-related in-patient hospitalizations (of just a single employee), amputations and losses of an eye . OSHA is publishing the details about these reported injuries online.

Reporting 1

We have written extensively about OSHA’s new reporting rule, including articles that:

  1. Explain the requirements of the new rule;
  2. Describe what happens after injuries are reported to OSHA; and
  3. Dissect the nuances of the amputation component of the rule.

Under the new reporting rule, employers have three ways to perfect the notification to OSHA. As has been compliant for year, employers may call the nearest OSHA Area Office or call OSHA’s toll-free reporting hotline – 800-321-OSHA.

The new rule also introduced a new reporting methodology – a web portal for online fatality and injury reporting. The web portal, however, was under development until just a couple of weeks ago.

OSHA was very excited to Reporting Web Portalintroduce the new web portal because of the “success” of OSHA’s other recent experiment with web portal reporting – whistleblower retaliation complaints. A couple of years ago, OSHA introduced a convenient web portal for employees to report retaliation complaints, and the number of complaints filed by employees surged.

OSHA believes injuries and fatalities are being under-reported by employers, so OSHA supposed that could be addressed by this more convenient technology.

While the online reporting portal is an easy method for reporting, and it is available 24/7, it does have major drawbacks. Employers should Continue reading

Slicing the Nuances of OSHA’s Amputation Reporting Requirements

By Eric J. Conn and Lindsay A. Smith

Under OSHA’s new injury and fatality reporting rules, amputations have become a specific type of injury that must be reported to OSHA, regardless of whether the employee is hospitalized.  Specifically, OSHA amended its reporting rule at 29 C.F.R. 1904.39 (“Reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA”) to read, in pertinent part:Reporting 3.JPG

“Within twenty-four (24) hours after … an employee’s amputation …, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the … amputation … to OSHA. . . .  For an … amputation …, you must only report the event to OSHA if it occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident.”

The long and short of the new reporting requirement is that an amputation constitutes an automatic report to OSHA even if it does not result in a hospitalization or any days away from work, or even require medical treatment beyond first aid.  There are, however, several key nuances that employers must be aware of before they pick up the phone to call OSHA.

What Types of Injuries Should be Reported as an Amputation?

As an initial matter, an employer must understand what constitutes an amputation.  The rule defines “amputations” as:

“[T]he traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part.  Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.”

Although this definition may seem straightforward, there is ambiguity around the distinction between a “partial amputation” and an avulsion or laceration.  Based on OSHA’s definition, the term “amputation” would require Continue reading

OSHA’s New Injury & Fatality Reporting Rule: Time to Add OSHA to Your Speed Dial

By Eric J. Conn and Amanda R. Strainis-Walker

On New Year’s Day 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new injury and fatality reporting rule became effective, significantly revising the triggering events for reporting workplace accidents to OSHA under the Agency’s Injury and Illness Recordkeeping regulations at 29 C.F.R. 1910.104, et seq.

New Injury and Illness Reporting Rule

The new regulations differ from the long-standing incident reporting rule in four ways:

  1. Lower the threshold for proactively reporting a catastrophic incident from the hospitalization of three or more employees to the hospitalization of a single employee;Reporting 3.JPG
  1. Add amputations (including partial amputations) and loss of an eye to the types of injuries that employers must proactively report;
  1. Introduce an internet portal for employers to submit reportable events; and
  1. Require publication of the reporting events on OSHA’s public website.

Requirements of the New Reporting Rule. The reporting rule has been long-referred to informally as the “Fat-Cat” rule because it requires employers to report to OSHA all incidents that result in an employee fatality (Fat) or a catastrophe (Cat). The new regulation redefines catastrophe. Historically, a catastrophe had been defined as an incident that resulted in the overnight hospitalization for treatment of three or more employees.

The Agency views the new report triggering events as indicative of serious hazards at a workplace. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels explained that:

“hospitalizations and amputations [are] sentinel events, indicating that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment.”

In addition to lowering the threshold from three to one employee hospitalizations, OSHA also changed the definition of “hospitalization.” Historically, an employee’s overnight hospital stay triggered the reporting requirement. Under the new rule, whether the hospitalization is a reportable event turns not on whether the employee stays overnight, but rather, whether the employee is formally admitted to the “in-patient” service of the hospital or clinic. The visit, however, must involve medical care after the in-patient admission. A hospital visit only for observation or diagnostic testing, even if it involves in-patient admission, does not constitute a reportable event.

The concepts of “formal admission” and “in-patient service” seem to be causing significant confusion in the new rule’s early stages. While OSHA continues to Continue reading