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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!