Workplace accident reporting regulations

Employees in North Carolina should know what OSHA requires when workplace accidents happen.

Many types of jobs and industries are logically associated with being more dangerous than others. A construction site accident, for example, would be more expected than would a serious injury accident in a typical office setting. However, people in North Carolina should be aware that safety matters in any environment as injuries and even fatalities are not limited to those occupations deemed as dangerous.

How many people die in workplace accidents?

According to the 2014 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, more than 4,000 workers died in work-related accidents in 2014 across the country. The myriad of industries in North Carolina affected by fatal workplace accidents can be seen by taking a look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information. In 2013, 109 people lost their lives in accidents on-the-job.

Of those 109 victims, 38 were employed in the construction, maintenance or natural resources industries. Another 25 worked in the material moving, production or transportation fields. Service industry personnel accounted for 19 job-related fatalities. There were 16 deaths among people identified as working in the arts, science, business or management. Deaths among those working in sales and office occupations numbered nine.

Understanding reporting requirements for accidents

Select accidents must be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Under recently amended guidelines, this includes any accidents which result in at least one death, hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. Fatalities must be reported no later than eight hours after occurring. Other incidents must be reported within 24 hours.

Other changes made by OSHA include which industries must maintain internal records of on-the-job accidents. There are many additions but some of those new to the list of those required to do this are auto parts stores, bakeries, performing arts companies and liquor stores.

Online reporting controversy

A report in Business Insurance indicated that OSHA has been working to find a solution pertaining to reporting accidents online that businesses will accept. Many companies voiced concerns about privacy if such reporting took place. In the end OSHA did not mandate online reporting but has stipulated that employers cannot discourage employees from filing reports online.

Another concern that OSHA noted was that when employees are incentivized with corporate safety programs, they may be less inclined to report accidents that should be reported. This can skew the data on such incidents.

What workers should know and do

Every person in North Carolina should be able to feel safe while at work. If any work-related accident happens, employees have rights. Talking to an attorney can be helpful in these situations.

Keywords: workplace, accident, injury