Federal Government Changes Rules For Reporting Serious Workplace Injuries

All Incidents Of Injury Must Now Be Reported To OSHA — Not Just Those Involving 3 Or More Injuries

Construction has long been one of the most dangerous industries to work in, according to OSHA data. Photo: Alex Gaylon (CC-BY-NC-SA).

The way employers report workplace injuries to the federal government will be changing in the new year.

Starting Jan. 1, all work-related hospitalizations, amputations, or eye losses have to be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 24 hours. In the past, employers contacted the agency only if three or more workers were seriously injured.

According to OSHA, the new requirements will help hold employers accountable for injuries and fatalities.

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Rebecca Adams, a policy analyst with University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, said the reporting changes could help with injury prevention.

“One person should be enough to warrant some type of follow-up to make sure there isn’t something going on (that) needs to be checked out or addressed at the worksite,” said Adams.

For the first time, employers will be able to report those injuries online, in addition to over the phone.

Midwest Food Processors Association President Nick George said the new requirements shouldn’t be an issue for any business on top of its reporting.

“A good safety program will be marginally affected by this,” said George. “I think processors and most manufacturers, they treat safety very seriously. It’s a big issue, it’s a big deal, and it’s a priority for any company.”

Last year, there were more than 4,400 workplace fatalities nationwide, including 96 in Wisconsin.