New OSHA Requirements

Orange County Business AttorneyPartially in response to the release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2012, OSHA announced new rules to be effective January 1, 2015. As explained by an Orange County business attorney, the goal of the new rules is to do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy.


OSHA was created to ensure covered employers provide a safe workplace environment for its employees. To verify compliance with the established safety regulations and make certain employees are aware of their rights, specific reporting requirements are mandated.

Who Is Covered under OSHA

The basic OSHA requirement is that each employer is mandated to maintain a safe workplace environment for its employees. Accordingly, OSHA rules do not cover workers who are not employees. However, exactly who is an employee and who is not an employee is not defined under OSHA regulations but has been left up to court interpretation. Thus, where employers have workers who are volunteers, interns, independent contractors or partners, there are issues to consider.

What the New Rules Cover

The new rules change the previously existing standards in two specific areas:

• Reporting severe injuries and • Updating the list of industries exempt from record keeping requirements.

Reporting Severe Injuries

The prior OSHA regulations required an employer to report to OSHA work related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees. The new standards will mandate that employers:

• Notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours and • Notify OSHA of work-related hospitalizations, amputations or losses of eyes within 24 hours.
The reasoning, as an OSHA spokesperson explained, is that hospitalizations and amputations are sentinel events, which indicate a likelihood of serious workplace hazards that call for an intervention to protect other workers at the facility.As an Orange County business attorney emphasizes, all employers covered by OSHA, even those exempt from maintaining illness and injury records, are required to comply with these reporting requirements. In keeping with its policies of ease of reporting and transparency, a new Web portal will be available for employers and the reports will be accessible to the general public.

Industries Exempt from Record Keeping Requirements

The exemption from the requirement to routinely maintain injury and illness reports is predicated on OSHA’s assessment that a particular industry has a relatively low occupational injury and illness rate. Previously, industries that were exempt were determined under the Standard Industrial classification system, which was based on BLS data from 1996, 1997 and 1998. The new list of industry exemptions use the North American Industry Classification System relying on the more current BLS data from 2007, 2008 and 2009. Consistent with the old rule, the new standards exempt any employer with 10 or fewer employees, regardless of the classification their industry falls in.

Contact an Orange County Business Lawyers for Legal Advice

Failure to comply with OSHA regulations can result in stiff fines. For any question regarding your business’ compliance requirements, call Daily Aljian, LLP at 949-861-2524.

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