Following OSHA Reporting Requirements Is Part of Good Workers Comp Practices

Workers Comp underwriters look for the very best risks to insure–meaning those insureds that are least likely to present claims that the insurance company will have to be responsible for paying out on. Thus, those employers that cultivate a culture of safety first on the job–and make a point to stay on top of current requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (commonly referred to as OSHA) and make sure that employees follow them–hold a privileged place in the mind of those who make decisions on which companies it makes good business sense to offer protection to. This privilege is reflected not only in the green light the companies receive to grant them access to coverage, it also can affect the pricing they are quoted for premiums.

Good recordkeeping practices play a role as well. It is important that employers understand the changes in time-sensitive reporting requirements set forth by OSHA. It can be easy to overlook these mandatory events in the aftermath of a tragedy, yet it is critical that the established point of contact provide the information to the appropriate party. For example, a recent incident at a multimillion-dollar sports stadium construction site made news when one worker fell 300 feet to his death and another was severely injured trying to save the felled worker. Imagine the shock and horror felt by the coworkers and managers, let alone the terrible task of informing the victims’ families. Nevertheless, OSHA reporting would also be one of the first things that would also need to be handled. That’s because, effective January 1, 2015, all employers are required to report the following:

  • All work-related fatalities must be reported within 8 hours
  • All work-related in-patient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye must be reported within 24 hours

This new rule provides a variety of other updates as well, including the list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to keep OSHA records on workplace injury and illnesses, largely because of the relatively minor level of workplace injury and illness rates in those industries. The new list is based on data in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as well as information on injuries and illnesses from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collected in more recent years. Previously, the list was based on industries in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system and older BLS injury and illness data.

Workers comp underwriters look at a variety of data to determine what risks to insure. Employers and employees can work together to maintain a safe environment and make those determinations easier for everyone involved.