The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued new rules recently requiring all workplace fatalities be reported within eight hours and that certain severe injuries be reported within 24 hours after an employer learns of the incident.
While the idea was to make things more convenient for employers, some workplace safety experts are now questioning whether OSHA’s website might be the best place to do that.
The site went live in December, giving employers a new option when they file injury reports.
Link: Go here to read OSHA’s requirements.
Employment lawyers say the site requires more extensive information than is required when calling OSHA to report such incidents.
The problem with that, they say, is that the information submitted could be used as an admission of fault — even if an initial accounting of the incident turns out to be inaccurate.
Another concern centers on how much time – actually, how little time – employers get before they’re required to file their reports.
Completing an incident investigation in just eight hours can be tough. That’s why employment law experts caution against committing in writing to any version of the incident.
Whatever approach you use, employers should do all they can to comply with OSHA’s reporting requirements because the agency has cited employers who fail to do so.
And if you are using the website, we advise that you stick to the facts, rather than adding analysis that could be used to assign blame.
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About the Author
Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.