New requirements, new ‘opportunities’: OSHA says more than 10,000 severe injuries reported in 2015
Washington – More than 10,000 severe occupational injuries were reported to OSHA during the initial year of the agency’s new reporting requirement.
On average, 30 work-related severe injuries occurred per day, according to a report released March 17. Since Jan. 1, 2015, employers have been required to report all severe work-related injuries – which include hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye – within 24 hours.
Employers reported 10,388 injuries, which included 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations. OSHA said that in most cases (62 percent), the agency collaborated with the employer to identify and eliminate hazards rather than sending investigators to the worksite.
Manufacturing led all industry sectors with 26 percent of hospitalization reports and 57 percent of amputation reports. Some employers exceeded requirements in protecting workers, while a few “responded with callous disregard,” according to an OSHA press release.
One employer reportedly attempted to hide a room of machinery from inspectors after an amputation. The new requirement is meeting the agency’s goals of focusing on needed resources and engaging employers in high-hazard industries to find and eliminate hazards, OSHA states.
“In case after case, the prompt reporting of worker injuries has created opportunities for us to work with employers we wouldn’t have had contact with otherwise,” OSHA administrator David Michaels, who wrote the report, said in the release. “The result is safer workplaces for thousands of workers.”
However, the agency estimates that at least 50 percent of severe injuries are not being reported, and said it is working to create outreach targeted at small- and mid-sized employers who may not be aware of the new requirements.