Expert Update: When OSHA Knocks

Posted July 12, 2018 Safety, Expert Tips, Commercial Lines

When a safety program is in force and everything is in place, it is sometimes easy to think that we are in the clear. What happens when a severe injury occurs? Was it an amputation or loss of an eye? Was the employee admitted to the hospital or were they just there for observation? Does the difference matter to OSHA?

Is the incident OSHA recordable or OSHA reportable?

Fortunately, you are not on your own to figure that out. As, part of doing business with Henderson Brothers, Inc. you have access to the Risk Control Department with combined experience of well over 50 years. We have assisted our clients with OSHA inspections/investigations, helping to reduce stress and citations for our clients.

How long do I have to report?

In recent years OSHA has changed the reporting requirements for severe incidents. We have reported on this in the past. As a reminder they are: hospital admittance, amputation, and loss of an eye within 24 hours. Fatalities must be reported within 8 hours.

What options do I have to report?

There are several ways to report the event including calling OSHA 1-800-321-6742, reporting through the online form on OSHA.gov, or the preferred method of calling the area office. In our experience this method gives the area office the opportunity to review the incident before sending an investigator. The other two methods generate a work order requiring an investigation without digression from the area office.

What do I do once the report has been made?

Again, you have access to the HBI Risk Control Department that have been through the process. The first step would be to call us so we can get involved, if we are not already. We can come out and help formulate a game plan, together with company representatives. Part of this would be to discuss what will happen during the visit, who to get involved and what information should be gathered. Completion of an accident investigation to determine what corrections could prevent a repeat incident and begin working to address the hazards. A walkthrough of the path of travel from the conference room to the area the incident occurred to reduce probable cause for the OSHA inspector to cite other hazards.

What happens once the investigation is over?

The inspector will have a closing conference. This can either occur in person or over the phone, depending on the situation. If there are apparent violations, they will be made know during the closing conference. Once the closing conference is completed, a certified mailing of the citations will be sent. The citations must be posted in the area they were found for 3 days or until abated whichever is longer. You have fifteen (15) days to appeal or request an informal conference. We always suggest completing an informal conference as this gives you an opportunity to meet with the area director. This meeting will allow you to present your plan of action and potentially have your citations reduced.

Please contact me for a comprehensive review of your risk management.


Please note that the information contained in this posting is designed to provide authoritative and accurate information, in regard to the subject matter covered. However, it is not provided as legal or tax advice and no representation is made as to the sufficiency for your specific company’s needs. This post should be reviewed by your legal counsel or tax consultant before use.