OSHA Issues Interpretation Letter for Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirement Rules

 
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
 

On January 1, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) revised recordkeeping rule went into effect.  It includes two key changes:

First, the rule updates the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates. The previous list of industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997, and 1998. The new list of industries that are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009. Note: The new rule retains the exemption for any employer with ten or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records.

Second, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries that all covered employers must report to OSHA. The revised rule retains the current requirement to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and adds the requirement to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours to OSHA.

On December 16, 2014, OSHA issued an interpretation letter.  It answered five questions.  First, it defined amputation under section 1904.39(b)(11) as "the 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."  Second, it stated that an avulsion does not need to be reported.  Third, it was clarified that an amputation does not need to involve the loss of bone but could also result from the loss of a tip of a finger.  Fourth, it resolved that a case involving loss of sight, specifically, from loss of an eye that results in the in-patient hospitalization of the worker within 24 hours of the work-related incident is reportable.  Loss of sight without the removal of an eye is not reportable.  Fifth, the loss of an eye resulting in replacement with a glass eye is a reportable event.  

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