New rule requires reporting of more workplace injuries

Beginning in 2015, employers in New York and others nationwide will be subject to new injury reporting requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The new rules add to the list of on-the-job injuries that must be reported to OSHA, which it says will help it to be more effective in preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. In addition, according to a press release from the agency, the change will improve access to workplace safety information for workers, employers, researchers and the general public, enabling them to better identify and address serious workplace hazards.

Currently, OSHA requirements provide that employers must report all work-related deaths within eight hours. The new rule retains this requirement and adds additional triggers for mandatory reporting. Beginning on January 1, employers will also be required to file a report within 24 hours when any of the following events occur:

  • A worker is hospitalized for work-related reasons.
  • A worker suffers an occupational amputation injury.
  • A worker loses an eye on the job.

However, even under the new rules, an employer's obligation to report these injuries is not unlimited. An occupational hospitalization, amputation or enucleation (eye loss) is subject to the mandatory reporting requirement only if it occurs within 24 hours of the injury-causing incident. Furthermore, work-related fatalities are only bound by the rule if they occur within 30 days of the injury-causing incident.

Stay safe at work by being alert to hazards

Work-related hospitalizations, amputations and eye loss can occur across all fields, but are especially common in industrial settings such as factories, warehouses and mills like those that are found in some parts of Staten Island.

Factory employees, food workers and others who come in close contact with machinery such as power presses, conveyors, rollers, slicers and grinders typically face the highest risk of amputation injuries. OSHA literature points to the following types of mechanical components as specific amputation hazards:

  • The point of operation, which is the area of a machine where work is done on material.
  • Power-transmission mechanisms, such as belts, pulleys, chains, flywheels, gears and other apparatuses that transmit energy from one part of the machine to another.
  • Other moving mechanical parts, including components that rotate, reciprocate, slide or otherwise move while the machine is in operation.

Although amputation injuries are relatively rare when compared with other types of occupational injuries, they are by no means uncommon, and when they do occur the consequences are often catastrophic. If you or a family member has suffered a serious work-related injury in New York, it is a good idea to seek advice from a workers' compensation lawyer. He or she can help you understand your rights and the options that are available to you, and can work on your behalf to pursue a maximum settlement for the injury and related losses.