Catastrophic injury:Who reports to OSHA?
The previous blog talked about reporting work injuries resulting in in-patient hospitalization to OSHA. Now that you realize just what in-patient hospitalization is, I am sure you will never forget that it needs to be reported, but do your supervisors know?
If an injury occurs at 11 pm on a Friday, the supervisor is likely the first one to know. They probably fill out the incident report and email it to you, your safety officer, or your human resource department who then finds it Monday morning. In most circumstances, this is fine but if the injury resulted in an in-patient hospitalization or other catastrophic injury, it should have been reported to OSHA within 24 hours of the event (8 hours if the work-related incident resulted in death). By Monday morning, it is already too late.
Now I am not saying that the supervisor should be responsible for reporting injuries to OSHA but they should at least know when an injury is significant enough to require a phone call to a manager or someone in your business who is responsible for reporting to OSHA.
I would suggest reviewing your company’s safety policy to confirm if notifying OSHA is included in the employee injury procedure plan. Many companies have a checklist for supervisors to complete when an injury occurs. One statement to add to the checklist is:
“Did the injury result in a death, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye? If yes contact our safety officer, Joe Schmoe, immediately at the phone number provided.”
Then Joe Schmoe would have his own checklist to complete. Some information Joe Schmoe may like to keep in his catastrophic injury checklist is OSHA’s contact information. Some states have their own OSHA program so it is important to know if Joe Schmoe should report to federal OSHA or a state run OSHA program. There are some helpful links below if you are not sure what your state’s policy is.
The information OSHA would be looking for is:
(1) The establishment name; (2) The location of the work-related incident; (3) The time of the work-related incident; (4) Type of catastrophic event (i.e. fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye); (5) The number of employees who suffered a catastrophic injury; (6) Names of said employees from #5; (7) A contact person for the company with a phone number; and (8) A brief description of the work-related incident.
Following the report, OSHA will determine if further investigation is necessary. There is a chance OSHA could show up unannounced so make sure those OSHA logs are up to date. By the way, OSHA requires logs to be maintained going back 5 years and may ask you for all 5 years’ worth when they show up. You only have 4 hours to hand over your OSHA records.
As promised, below are a couple of helpful links.
Federal OSHA: Report a Fatality or Severe Injury: https://www.osha.gov/report.html
State approved reporting plans: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/state_adoption_table.html
I hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading!