Federal rules for reporting occupational accidents

Pennsylvania residents should be aware of the federal regulations for reporting workplace accidents.

People in any line of work can become the victims of workplace accidents. The 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that more than 4,000 people died in occupational accidents that year. According to 2013 records from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 183 fatalities from on-the-job accidents in Pennsylvania alone.

Of those, 65 occurred in occupations related to production, material moving or transportation. Another 49 fatalities were connected to jobs in construction, maintenance or natural resources. People in management, science, arts or business jobs accounted for 35 deaths. Service occupations saw 22 people lose their lives.

All fatalities must be reported

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, all fatal accidents must be reported. In fact, OSHA recently updated its regulations around the reporting of fatal workplace accidents to require that such incidents be reported within eight hours. In addition, any incident that results in a hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours. This rule is in place regardless of how many people are involved in the accident.

Recordkeeping for occupational injuries

This year, OSHA also updated its requirements for which industries must keep records of any accidents deemed to be serious. Among the additions were industries such as performing arts companies, liquor stores, bakeries and auto parts businesses.

Controversy surrounding online reporting

According to Business Insurance, some businesses and OSHA have been at odds over whether or not online reporting of accidents should be encouraged or required. Opponents say they are concerned about privacy. A compromise approach stipulates that such reporting not be required but also not be discouraged by employers.

The report also notes that OSHA is concerned about companies that incentivize safety programs as this may cause some people to withhold accident reports in an effort to be rewarded for safety. This, in turn, can skew the realities of on-the-job accidents.

All employees deserve safe workplaces

Every person in Pennsylvania should feel secure that they are safe and protected when performing their jobs. This is a basic right for all employees. Certainly some risks are natural but employers are tasked with minimizing those risks.

When accidents do happen, help in the form of workers' compensation or other means is important. Securing these things, however, is not always easy. For this reason, employees are strongly encouraged to work with an experienced attorney if they have been injured on the job. Doing so can increase the chance of claim approval.

Keywords: workplace, accident, workers' compensation, benefits