The United States has some of the strictest labor safety laws of any developed country. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is the federal agency that’s tasked with enforcing workplace safety requirements and routinely fines U.S. employers who fail to comply with rules and procedures related to fall prevention, use of safety equipment and protecting workers from exposure to hazardous materials.
While many U.S. companies work to comply with OSHA rules, each year thousands of workers are injured at work and, during 2013 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “4,405 workers were killed in the job.”
Current OSHA regulations require employers with more than 10 employees to keep track of and report any occupational injuries or illnesses suffered by workers. Additionally, in the event three or more workers are killed or seriously injured at work, these companies are currently required to file a detailed report with OSHA.
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, regardless of size, all companies will now be required to report the serious injury or death of any employee that occurs at work. What’s more, a detailed report must be filed with OSHA within eight hours of an employee’s death and 24 hours after an employee is seriously injured. Serious injuries that are encompassed under the new rule include amputations, loss of an eye and work-related hospitalizations.
OSHA officials contend the new reporting requirements can help uncover safety violations and problems. Discovering or uncovering these problems helps both OSHA and employers address safety and health concerns and can aid in preventing additional workplace injuries and deaths.