What job accidents must be reported?

When an on-the-job accident happens, there are specific guidelines that govern which ones should be reported

A work-related accident can happen in any type of business, job or industry. Certainly the risk of an accident may be higher in some industries than in others but it always exists. Culver City employers of construction workers to office desk employees can all have to face an injury on the job at some point. When this happens, there are many things to take care of.

Providing or receiving medical care can be the most urgent need, especially if an injury is serious. In addition to that, however, people need to know that many accidents are required by law to be officially reported. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration manages the rules that govern this and recently updated them.

What must be reported?

OSHA requires that companies report any and all fatal job accidents within eight hours. In addition, accidents that cause injuries requiring hospital admittance must be reported within 24 hours. The 24-hour window for reporting is also in place in situations where a worker suffers the loss of an eye or an amputation.

How many fatal accidents happen?

In the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, more than 4,000 deaths from work-related accidents are noted. The 2013 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that 396 people died in California as the result of on-the-job accidents.

The California deaths in 2013 span a wide range of job functions. Deaths in material moving, transportation or production job accidents numbered 129 while 116 people in natural resources jobs died. Service workers represented 73 of the fatalities. Sales, office, management, business, science and arts jobs accounted for another 65 of the lives lost.

Recordkeeping as important as reporting

In addition to outlining which workplace accidents must be reported, OSHA also stipulates which businesses must keep accident records. The list of industries included in the recordkeeping requirement has been expanded this year. Now, businesses such as auto parts stores, liquor stories and bakeries must maintain official accident records.

Business Insurance notes that there is some controversy surrounding how accidents are reported. Some groups, including businesses themselves, are concerned that making reports online open up privacy issues. For now, one proposed compromise is for OSHA not to require online reporting but for businesses not to discourage it.

Another topic that OSHA and businesses do not always agree on related to incentivized employee safety programs. OSHA suggests that if people are given rewards for safety, they may be less likely to report some accidents. This, in turn, can skew accident statistics.

What employers should do

Dealing with injured employees, workers' compensation claims and potentially changing safety needs is a big job for businesses in California. Employers should always work with an experienced lawyer to ensure they know the latest regulations and what to do in specific situations.

Keywords: workers' compensation, accident, job