New OSHA Rule Changes Employers’ Injury/Illness Reporting Requirements


Tammy Lamary-Toman is Labor & Employment Counsel for the Manufacturer & Business Association’s Legal Services Division.

Employers get ready! The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) final rule for Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements takes effect on January 1, 2015. The final rule makes several changes that significantly expand reporting requirements for all employers.

Previously, employers had to notify OSHA of all work-related fatalities and work-related hospitalizations of three or more employees within eight hours of the incident. Under the new rule, employers are still required to report all work-related fatalities within eight hours, in addition to the following: 1) all work-related inpatient hospitalizations of one or more employees; 2) all workrelated amputations; and 3) all work-related losses of an eye.

The new rule imposes a 24-hour reporting window for reporting these incidents. Also, as an added surprise to employers, OSHA announced that employer reports of illness or injury will now be made public on OSHA’s website, which OSHA believes will act as an incentive for employers to increase safety for their workers. Additionally, the new rule updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements.

Under the previous regulations, two classes of employers were partially exempt from routinely keeping records of serious employee injuries and illnesses, including employers with 10 or fewer employees and employers in certain low-hazard industries, as classified by the Standard Industrial Classification system. The new rule keeps the exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees, but replaces the Standard Industrial Classification system, with the newer North American Industry Classification System. As a result, while some new industries will now be exempt, other employers in industries previously exempt, must now comply with all OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

If you are not sure whether you are still partially exempt, OSHA’s webpage provides a list of the industries previously exempt that now will be required to keep OSHA injury and illness records. The webpage also provides step-by-step instructions to determine whether your company is categorized as an exempt industry under the new rule. Additional information is available at