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:
“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