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OSHA Revises Recordkeeping Rule

OSHA will now receive crucial reports of fatalities and severe work-related injuries and illnesses that will significantly enhance the agency's ability to target our resources to save lives and prevent further injury and illness.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's revised recordkeeping rule includes two key changes.

First, the rule updates the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates. The previous list of industries was based on the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1996, 1997, and 1998. The new list of industries that are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records is based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2007, 2008, and 2009. Note: The new rule retains the exemption for any employer with ten or fewer employees, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records.

Second, the rule expands the list of severe work-related injuries that all covered employers must report to OSHA. The revised rule retains the current requirement to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and adds the requirement to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours to OSHA.

Establishments located in States under Federal OSHA jurisdiction must begin to comply with the new requirements on January 1, 2015. Establishments located in states that operate their own safety and health programs (State Plan States) should check with their state plan for the implementation date of the new requirements. OSHA encourages the states to implement the new coverage provisions on 1/1/2015, but some may not be able to meet this tight deadline.

The final rule will allow OSHA to focus its efforts more effectively to prevent fatalities and serious work-related injuries and illnesses. The final rule will also improve access by employers, employees, researchers and the public to information about workplace safety and health and increase their ability to identify and abate serious hazards.

Who Needs to Keep Records?

OSHA regulations require certain employers to routinely keep records of serious employee injuries and illnesses. However, there are two classes of employers that are partially exempt from routinely keeping records. First, employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. OSHA's revised recordkeeping regulation maintains this exemption.

Second, establishments in certain low-hazard industries are also exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. Since 1982, this list has been comprised of establishments in the divisions of retail trade; finance, insurance and real estate; and the service industry if the three year average lost workday case rate for their major industry group was 75% or less of the overall three year average of the lost workday case rate for private industry.

OSHA's revised recordkeeping regulation provides an updated list of low-hazard industries that are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records. The new list of exempt industries is now classified by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The injury and illness rate threshold is based on more recent BLS data.

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