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New OSHA regulations for reporting injured workers to be enacted

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is designed to protect both employees and employers. OSHA creates and enforces workplace safety regulations that, if followed, can help minimize injuries or even fatalities on a job site. In the past, employers in Colorado and across the country were only required to report hospitalizations of injured workers to OSHA if the number of those workers was at least three. Now, with new rules on the horizon, officials are hopeful that they will be better able to pinpoint potential problems.

The new regulations are set to be enacted by the beginning of 2015. They now require employers to report any injured employee being sent to the hospital if that employee hurts him- or herself on the job. The report must be made within 24 hours. Also, there are now stricter requirements regarding what injuries must be reported, including amputations or losing an eye. Worker fatalities are still -- and always have been -- required to be reported by employers, but they now have eight hours to report such incidents. 

Some employers are fearful that they could be penalized with the time limit rules. Their concern is that they may not know of an injury or fatality quickly enough to make the report in time. However, many OSHA officials and employers alike are optimistic that this will make a positive impact. If a company has a significant amount of similar injuries or fatalities, OSHA may be prompted to more thoroughly investigate whether the company is in any way creating an unsafe work environment. OSHA officials also stress to employers that one injury will not necessarily mean that they will investigate a company, simply that they will take notice and act accordingly.

These new rules could be beneficial to Colorado workers and help keep workplaces safer in the long-term. Injured workers, or families who lose loved ones in a workplace accident, have the right to file for a work injury claim. These benefits can be used to offset costs related to these accidents and help people provide for their families during a time when that may be difficult.

Source: chron.com, "OSHA tightens rules on reportable injuries", L.M. Sixel, Sept. 11, 2014

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