The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new rule that significantly changes an employer’s duties to report workplace injuries to OSHA.

Under the current rule, employers are only required to report workplace-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees to OSHA. Employers must report a qualifying incident to the nearest OSHA office or by phone within eight hours.

In some states, “state plan” government agencies enforce OSHA standards under federal oversight. Tennessee is one such state. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (TOSHA) is the designated agency here.

Because state plans must set standards that are at least equally (if not more) effective than federal OSHA standards, Tennessee enforces the current rule and will adopt the new rule on February 24, 2015. The new rule makes substantial changes to an employer’s reporting requirements. The changes now require employers to report any hospitalized employee, loss of an eye or any amputation, and motor vehicle accidents in construction work zones. The time to report has been extended from 8 to 24 hours for all incidents except fatalities.

In Tennessee, the toll free number to call to report an incident is 1-800-249-8510. If a TOSHA official cannot be reached by phone, employers must report the incident using the federal OSHA number: 1-800-321-OSHA. A website is under development to allow employers to report electronically; Tennessee plans to participate in online reporting.

What OSHA does

OSHA was created to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide employees with safe working conditions. OSHA sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards, and provides information, training and assistance to workers and employees.
Under the OSH Act, workers are entitled to conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help accomplish this goal, OSHA provides workers the right to:

  • Ask OSHA to inspect their workplace
  • Use their rights under the law without retaliation or discrimination
  • Receive information and training about hazards and OSHA standards
  • Get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Get copies of their medical records

If you have been injured as a result of a workplace accident, please contact us for a free consultation.