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New OSHA reporting rules for North Carolina organizations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new guidelines that are part of an effort to prevent future injuries from occurring by improving data, which is expected to help identify trends and common workplace hazards. Previous to the update, employers only had to report hospitalizations and fatalities that involved three or more workers. Starting on Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA is requiring that all employers report work-related hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours and fatalities within eight hours of the employer being informed of the incident.

There are a few circumstances where reporting is not required. For example, only fatalities that occur within 30 days of an accident must be reported, and hospitalizations and amputations only have to be reported if they take place within 24 hours of an incident. Hospitalization for in-patient diagnostic testing or observation is also exempted from reporting requirements as are hospitalizations due to a heart attack.

Outside of exempted situations, employers will be required to list their name, the location and time of the incident, what type of injuries were sustained and how many people were involved along with a description of what happened. The new guidelines also apply to organizations that are normally exempt from having to keep OSHA records, such as companies with 10 or fewer employees.

Workers' compensation is available to employees who are injured at or as a result of their job, and it may cover medical bills, lost wages and other expenses. This can be due to direct physical harm or a medical condition that was developed over time. A lawyer may be able to assist someone in filing a workers' compensation claim or having a rejected claim appealed.

Source: Insurance Journal, "New OSHA Reporting Rules on Workplace Deaths, Hospitalizations in Effect Jan. 1", December 31, 2014

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