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OSHA Basics: Incident Reporting

August 14, 2019 BY Neil Brunetz

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Think of two different timing requirements. 

The first is for fatalities as a result of a work related incident.  Fatalities must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours after the death of any employee.

The second is for the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident.  These incidents must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours.

There are a few exceptions to the reporting rules.

  1. If the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on a public street or highway, but not in a construction work zone, you do not have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.
  2. If the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (e.g., airplane, train, subway, or bus),  you do not have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA

In either instance; however, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

But what if you do not learn about the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye immediately?  You must still report the fatality within 8 hours of the fatality being reported to you or your agent and the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye within 24 hours of being reported to you or your agent.

But what if you do not learn that the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was a result of a work-related incident?  You must still report the fatality within 8 hours of you or your agent learning the fatality was the result of a work related incident and the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye within 24 hours of you or your agent learning the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident.

How do you report an incident of a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye?  Three ways are available.

  1. By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office nearest the incident.  If the nearest office is closed, go to numbers 2 and 3 below.  Leaving a message on and answering machine at the nearest office is not considered adequate reporting.
  2. By telephone to OSHA’s central number 1-800-321-6742.
  3. By electronic submission at osha.gov.

What information will I need to provide when I report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye?

  1. The name of the employer.
  2. The location of the work-related incident.
  3. The time of the work-related incident.
  4. The type of reportable incident, whether it was a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
  5. The number of employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
  6. The employer’s contact person and phone number.
  7. A description of the work incident.

Loose ends and definitions.

OSHA defines in-patient hospitalization as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care and treatment.  Observation and diagnostic testing only does not require reporting.

OSHA defines amputation as the traumatic loss of a limb of other external body part.  This includes a part of a limb or appendage that is severed, cut off, partially amputated, completely amputated, fingertip amputations with or without bone loss, medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage and amputations that have been reattached.  Not included as amputations are avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears or broken or chipped teeth.

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Mr. Brunetz has experience working as an outside general counsel for a technology company assisting the company in negotiating and finalizing NDAs, SaaS agreements and technology development agreements as well as many other aspects of the company’s business. His legal experience also includes  courtroom representation of clients in civil litigation matters, including personal injury, wrongful death, workers' compensation, construction, contract, commercial disputes, and malpractice actions. 

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