The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an evaluation of the impact that their 2015 severe injury reporting guideline has had on workplace safety. The newest requirement, that severe injury be reported to the administration within 24 hours, took effect on January 1, 2015, and seems to have had a positive impact on accident prevention.
The analysis of the new requirement’s effectiveness notes that prior to 2015, the administration often lacked sufficient data about accidents in the workplace to respond effectively. For instance, only after a workplace fatality would be reported would it become clear that an extensive history of serious accidents led up to the death of a worker.
Now employers are required to report any serious injuries, including amputations, hospitalizations, or loss of an eye within 24 hours. The new requirement supplements existing laws mandating that workplace fatalities be reported within eight hours.
The OSHA report details how the reporting of serious injuries allows for cooperation between the administration and the employee to prevent further injury or death, effectively reducing both workplace calamities.
New data helps to prevent workplace injuries
The data reported from more than 10,000 injuries last year provides the administration with tools to help understand where and when injuries occur and to prevent further thousands of injuries from taking place, according to the OSHA report. The two specific goals of the program were to monitor injuries in the workplace so as to target compliance and enforcement efforts more effectively, and to work with employers to prevent similar accidents from occurring.
Many of the kinds of hazards that lead to injuries reported are “well-understood and easily prevented,” according to OSHA’s evaluation. The OSHA program encourages employers to evaluate their own areas of safety weakness and to implement effective means of accident prevention.
The data came only from states with federally administered OSHA involvement. Even so, the number of injuries reported was significant: 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. 26% of hospitalizations and 57% of amputations were reported from manufacturing settings. The second most dangerous area was construction, where 19% of hospitalizations and 10% of amputations were reported.
Options for those injured on the job
For employees who have been injured on the job, worker’s compensation may be available to help with expenses incurred due to the injury. Workman’s comp is not related to whether a company is liable for the injury that occurred and is rewarded regardless of “fault.” However, such compensation is rarely sufficient to cover all of the losses that a worker encounters, including medical bills, long-term rehabilitation costs, loss of income, and loss of earning potential. And it will frequently be sufficient to help support a family of a worker who loses his life.
In cases where injuries occur due to negligence, it may not be possible to sue an employer directly where workman’s comp is available. However, it may be possible to bring a personal injury lawsuit against subcontractors employed by a company who are responsible for training or design issues, for other companies responsible for manufacturing, maintaining, or repairing equipment, or for other parties who may bear some responsibility for an on-the-job injury or fatality.
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye offer seasoned legal advice to individuals who have been injured on the job, whether on a construction site or other place of employment. Discuss your case with a construction accident lawyer free of charge by calling 1-800-469-7429.