The Occupational Safety and Health Administration plays an integral role in protecting employees while they are at work. While most people in Illinois hear of OSHA only after someone has already been injured on the job, the federal agency plays an active role in preventing these types of accidents from ever occurring. Part of that prevention involves investigating accidents and collecting data related to job injuries.
On Jan. 1, 2015, OSHA’s requirement for all employers to report severe work injuries in a timely manner was implemented. Employers now have a two-hour time frame to report an amputation, hospitalization or eye loss to the agency. The eight-hour reporting requirement for job-related fatalities was not changed or affected.
With the first year of OSHA’s new requirement complete, it recently reported that it received upwards of 10,000 reports regarding severe work injuries. Although the number is startlingly high, OSHA believes that the quick reporting created valuable opportunities for it to respond and eliminate the safety hazards that led to a particular accident. The agency found that many employers were ready to make changes and even went above and beyond OSHA’s recommendations. Unfortunately, that was not the standard reaction, and one employer was even discovered trying to conceal a room of machinery from incoming inspectors.
While OSHA believes that its efforts will continue to make the workplace safer for everyone, in the past year alone over 7,600 job injuries resulted in hospitalization. Another 2,600 injuries led to amputations. People in Illinois who have been injured on the job have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits in order to address the financial aspect of their injuries.
Source: ehstoday.com, “Over 10,000 Severe Worker Injuries Reported in First Year of OSHA Requirement“, Sandy Smith, March 17, 2016