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New OSHA rule requires employers to report more injuries

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency tasked with making sure workers in America are kept safe. One way the agency does this is by keeping track of serious accidents that occur on the job.

Currently, only fatal accidents and accidents that leave at least three workers hospitalized are required to be reported. However, a new rule will take effect in 2015 that will require employers to report any time a worker is left hospitalized or suffers the loss of an eye or an amputation on the job.

Industry leaders have criticized the new rule as OSHA requiring too much information that will do little to protect workers. But OSHA officials say these smaller accidents shed light on dangerous conditions that could lead to more serious accidents in the future.

An OSHA spokesman said the change will “enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards: ones that have already caused injuries to occur.”

An occupational health and safety scholar and former OSHA legislative analyst called the rule change “long overdue.” She said the information will shed important light on the kinds of injuries that are occurring, the industries they are occurring in and the workers who are being affected.

Anytime a worker is injured on the job he or she should seek medical treatment and report the incident to a manager. Seeking treatment and reporting the incident not only helps collect important data on workplace accidents, it also helps preserve a worker’s claim for worker’s compensation benefits.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Under New Federal Rules, Employers Will Have to Report All Amputations,” Josh Eidelson, Sept. 12, 2014

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