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Catastrophic injury:Who reports to OSHA?

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!

In-Patient Hospitalization – What OSHA Requires

In-Patient Hospitalization – What OSHA Requires

The One Everyone Misses

Welcome to WCMC’s blog where we share useful, employer specific, news and information.

Most employers know, or at least have read at some point, that a work related death must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours of the incident causing the death. A work related incident causing an amputation, a loss of an eye, or in-patient hospitalization must be reported within 24 hours of the incident.

Okay…did you miss it?   Almost every employer I talk to is surprised when I tell them that an in-patient hospitalization must be reported to OSHA directly, not just recorded on the 300 log, within 24 hours!

So what does “in-patient hospitalization” actually mean? Does that mean if an employee goes to the hospital, it has to be reported? Not necessarily.  There is a difference between “in-patient” and “out-patient” hospitalization.

In-patient hospitalization it defined by OSHA in section 1904.39(b)(9) of the OSHA Laws & Regulations, (Standards – 29 CFR) as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.  This usually means an overnight stay in the hospital.  In an out-patient hospitalization however, the patient receives treatment and can then go home to recover. Many surgeries are considered out-patient procedures these days so do not assume that an employee who breaks an ankle due to a work incident, immediately requiring an ER visit and surgery, is an in-patient hospitalization.

One simple test I use to determine the type of hospitalization is to ask the employee if they received a room number.  If so, it was likely an in-patient stay.

Exceptions To The Rule

Now there is an exception. OSHA says that if the in-patient hospitalization, loss of an eye, or amputation occurs 24 hours after the work-related incident, it does not need to be reported to OSHA but must still be recorded on the OSHA 300 log, if your company is already required to keep such injury and illness records.  So, if the employee in the example above required in-patient hospitalization due to complications with the injury a week after the incident, it does not need to be reported. If a work related death occurs more than 30 days after the actual incident, it no longer needs to be reported to OSHA but again, must be recorded on the 300 log in the death category.

Another exception. If the inpatient hospitalization only involved observation or diagnostic testing with no actual treatment or care, you do not have to report it to OSHA.

I hope this helps to further your knowledge on when to report injuries to OSHA. To read OSHA’s standard for reporting work related injuries, you can visit their website at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1904/1904.39

Thanks for reading!