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Recent Announcements

Reporting a Severe Injury or Fatality to OSHA

Contractors must be familiar with the approved methodology for reporting a severe injury or fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Failure to report an incident could lead to citations, fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. In this article, an OSHA defense attorney will discuss the appropriate channels for reporting a severe injury or fatality on the project site and answer some frequently asked questions about the reporting process.

The 5 W’s of Reporting to OSHA

Who: All employers are legally obligated to inform OSHA whenever an employee is injured or killed on the job. This includes work-related hospitalizations, amputations, and visual impairments. The employer should call the nearest OSHA office to file a report. Otherwise, they may call the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA or submit an online form. Employers must have the following information on hand when reporting:

  • Business name
  • Names of affected employees
  • Time of incident
  • Location of incident
  • Description of the incident
  • Name of contact
  • Phone number

What: If an employee is severely injured, maimed, or killed while working on the project site, the employer (usually the contractor) must file a report with OSHA.

Where: Only incidents that transpire at the workplace are to be filed with OSHA. Accidents that occurred at home or during non-working hours do not need to be reported.

When: The employer should file a report as soon as possible to avoid a citation, fine, or possible jail time. Workplace fatalities must be reported within eight hours, while instances of in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported within 24 hours.

Why: It’s important for employers to file a report with OSHA as soon as possible if they want to preserve their license and keep their project on schedule. Additionally, failure to report in a timely manner can lead to citations, fines, and in some cases, jail time.

Frequently Asked Questions

If the local OSHA office is closed, can I report the incident via voicemail, fax, or email?

No. If you cannot report the incident in-person or by telephone, you must report the incident to the OSHA 24-hour hotline at 1-800-321-OSHA.

What is OSHA’s definition of “in-patient hospitalization”?

According to OSHA, in-patient hospitalization refers to “formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Treatment in an Emergency Room only is not reportable.”

Who is responsible for reporting an incident involving a temporary worker?

The employer who oversees the worker on a day-to-day basis is required to submit the report.

When am I not required to report an incident?

Employers are not responsible if the event resulted from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on a public street or highway (excluding construction work zones). Similarly, injuries that occurred on commercial or public transportation systems are dismissible. Finally, workers who were hospitalized for diagnostic testing or observation exclusively do not need to be reported.

If you would like to speak with an OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Understanding OSHA’s Criteria for Performing Inspections

Contractors must be extremely diligent when managing project sites if they want to ensure that all workers are safe and accounted for; otherwise, they could be dealt a citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In this article, a Florida OSHA lawyer will discuss the OSHA’s criteria for investigating a complaint. Although contractors would prefer to not think about OSHA investigating their job site or receiving a citation, it’s important to understand the health and safety agency’s criteria for investigating complaints, so that you have a better understanding of how you can maintain a safe and healthy workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 establishes legal grounds for employees and their representatives to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they think severe hazards are not being limited through practical application of relevant OSHA standards. In fact, a worker doesn’t need comprehensive knowledge to file a complaint. If they believe the conditions on the project site are unsafe, they can file a complaint without knowing which specific OSHA standard is being violated. The complaint must be filed in a timely manner because OSHA citations have a statute of limitations of six months. All complaints remain confidential. Once a complaint is filed, it’s important that contractors immediately contact a Florida OSHA defense lawyer.  

OSHA’s Investigation Criteria

According to OSHA’s website, at least one of the following eight criteria needs to be met for the health and safety agency to conduct an investigation of a workplace:

  1. If a worker submits a detailed and signed complaint describing the violation that exists at the job site
  2. Allegations of an injury that transpired because of a hazard
  3. A report was filed regarding “imminent danger”
  4. If a company covered by OSHA’s local or national program has a complaint filed against them regarding a hazard
  5. If the employer fails to provide a sufficient response to a complaint submitted via OSHA’s phone/fax investigation process
  6. Any complaint filed against a company that has a history of “egregious, willful or failure-to-abate” citations within a three-year period
  7. If a “whistleblower investigator” referral was made
  8. A job site that is currently undergoing or scheduled to undergo an OSHA inspection and a complaint is made

If you would like to speak with a Florida OSHA defense lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Exploring the Characteristics of Suitable Training Programs with OSHA

Training programs are an integral part of maintaining the health and safety of your employees. Let’s face it, poorly trained workers are more likely to hurt themselves. This is especially true on the construction site which is filled with countless potential hazards. In fact, on average, more than 14 workers were killed every day in 2017. Contractors must be diligent when training their workers. Not all training is good training, but by exploring the “characteristics of sound training programs” proposed by OSHA, contractors can provide their workers with proven training backed by noticeable results.

In this article, an OSHA lawyer will explore the characteristics of suitable training programs according to OSHA. This includes programs that are designated as accurate, credible, clear, and practical.

Accurate

All training materials should be designed, published, and provided by qualified individuals. An accurate training program is updated regularly to reflect the most recent OSHA rules and regulations and any industry-wide changes related to building techniques and processes. For example, a training program from the 1970s won’t be as effective as a training program that was updated in 2018. Training should be conducted by qualified and experienced professionals.

Credible

Credible training professionals should be well-versed in general safety and health or possess specialized knowledge of the subject matter pertinent to a specific industry. Experience in adult education and training is also helpful as adult learners have different needs than other demographics.

Clear

If a training program is difficult to understand or poorly communicates the lesson, it will have little effect on the health and safety of your team moving forward. Training programs should be accurate, believable, clear, and understandable. Trainers should speak plainly and without relying on advanced jargon to ensure that they are accounting for all literacy levels. In addition, training materials should be provided in the worker’s spoken language. Most OSHA resources are available in a variety of languages. Lastly, the training materials should consider literacy limitations and be adjusted to accommodate trainees on a case-by-case basis.

Practical

Finally, training programs should be practical. In other words, all information, ideas, and skills being taught should reflect on the needs of the workers being trained. All participants should be able to utilize the information acquired during the training session in the workplace upon entering the project site. Trainees should also understand how this information is relevant without difficulty.

If you would like to speak with our OSHA lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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