Employers Report 10,388 Injury Cases to OSHA in 2015

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By Bruce Rolfsen

March 17 — The construction industry accounted for four of the top 10 industry groups reporting severe injuries to the federal government during the first year of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's injury and hospitalization notification rule, the agency announced March 17.

Across all industries, employers informed OSHA of 10,388 incidents, including 7,636 hospitalizations and 2,644 amputations, OSHA said.

The rule (29 C.F.R. 1904.39) took effect Jan. 1, 2015, and is intended to alert OSHA to hazardous worksites that otherwise would go undetected. Employers must report hospitalizations, amputations and eye losses .

The numbers represent only states and employers where federal OSHA has jurisdiction. The numbers don't include public-sector employers or states such as California and Michigan that have their own state workplace safety agencies.

Underreporting?

OSHA administrator David Michaels said in the report that many employers, especially small- and mid-sized businesses, may not be fully complying with the reporting requirement.

“OSHA believes that many severe injuries—perhaps 50% or more—are not being reported,” Michaels said. “We base this conclusion on several factors, including injury claim numbers provided to us by state workers’ compensation programs.”

Because the majority of reports were filed by large employers, the agency believes many small- and mid-sized employers are unaware of the new requirements.

33 Percent Inspected

About one-third of the reports prompted OSHA to inspect worksites while about two-thirds of the reports resulted in OSHA contacting employers in writing or by phone and requesting that they conduct an incident investigation and notify OSHA how hazards will be corrected.

“We have found this process to be extremely effective in abating hazards while also using far fewer OSHA resources than are required for on-site inspections,” Michaels said.

Hospitalizations, Amputations

Among the hospitalization reports—required any time a worker is admitted to a hospital—manufacturers accounted for 26 percent of the reports while construction was responsible for 19 percent, and transportation and warehousing, 11 percent. No other industries had double-digit representation.

For amputation reports—including cases where there was no bone loss—manufacturers were responsible for 57 percent of the reports in 2015. Construction accounted for 10 percent.

The top 10 industry groups, based on four-digit North American Industrial Classification System codes, making reports were:

  • Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors (NAICS 2381), 391;
  • Building equipment contractors (NAICS 2382), 343;
  • Support activities for mining and oil and gas drilling (NAICS 2131), 323;
  • Nonresidential building construction (NAICS 2362), 271;
  • Postal Service (NAICS 4911), 229;
  • General medical and surgical hospitals (NAICS 6221), 221;
  • Grocery stores (NAICS 4451), 215;
  • Animal slaughtering and processing (NAICS 3116), 213;
  • Utility system construction (NAICS 2371), 201 and plastics product manufacturing (NAICS 3261), 196.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at brolfsen@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com.

For More Information

The report is available at http://src.bna.com/do5.