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Following new OSHA rules may not prevent injured worker claim

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in charge of implementing and enforcing work safety laws and regulations. The federal agency is also in charge of creating rules and regulations regarding reports of workplace injuries in California as well as every other state, regardless of whether there is an injured worker claim filed. Maintaining proper adherence to the new rules may help an employer avoid charges of work safety violations.

The new rules, which went into effect in the beginning of January, now require employers to report all fatalities resulting from a work accident within eight hours of the incident. All incidents that involve inpatient hospitalization, loss of an eye or amputations are required to be reported within 24 hours after knowledge of the accident. Even employers that are usually exempt from keeping routine OSHA records are required to comply with the new rules. Employers with 10 or fewer employees are usually exempt from routinely keeping records of injuries and illnesses.

There are some exemptions to the new reporting requirements. For instance, fatalities that occur more than 30 days following the work accident are not required to be reported. Also, reporting for inpatient hospitalizations, loss of an eye or amputation is not required if they happen after 24 hours following the work accident. OSHA has also provided a number of other exemptions to the new reporting rules.

Employers in California and elsewhere will want to gain a solid understanding of the new OSHA rules in order to avoid facing the prospect of fines and/or other punishments. However, despite following all necessary regulations, an employer may still find itself facing an injured worker claim. In this case, the employer may benefit from seeking professional assistance to assess the validity of the claim and to determine whether an employer defense strategy is appropriate to the circumstances.

Source: insurancejournal.com, "New OSHA Reporting Rules on Workplace Deaths, Hospitalizations in Effect Jan. 1", Dec. 31, 2014

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