Since Jan. 1, 2015, employers in Louisiana and around the country have been obligated to comply with new severe injury reporting requirements issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The reporting requirements state that employers must inform OSHA about any hospitalizations, amputations or losses of eyes within 24 hours of a work-related accident.
Part of the severe injury reporting rule is a change in how OSHA responds to severe injury reports. A program called Rapid Response Investigation requires a majority of employers to do their own investigations of severe injuries and find strategies for preventing similar accidents in the future. Employers are required to present the findings from their investigations and their proposed accident prevention methods to OSHA.
OSHA has issued a report about its severe injury reporting rule and the success of the rule during its first year of implementation. According to the agency, the rule has helped to improve workplace safety and focus OSHA’s resources where they are needed the most. The Rapid Response Investigation program allows OSHA to focus more on accident prevention than on issuing citations. Though OSHA’s report was mostly positive, the agency did point out that there was evidence that up to 50 percent of employers have not been reporting severe injuries like they are supposed to.
Injured workers may pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of whether or not the work-related accident that they were involved in was reported to OSHA. Having the assistance of an attorney throughout the process may be advisable in order to help ensure that the claim is complete and filed on a timely basis.