NC Labor Department issues alert for new workplace reporting requirements change

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The North Carolina Department of Labor said that a federally mandated change in workplace reporting requirements will become effective across the state on Jan. 1, 2015.

The change increases the types of workplace accidents employers are required to report to the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.

Currently employers are required to report work-related fatalities or the in-patient hospitalization of three or more workers within eight hours of an accident. In January, employers will still be required to report a fatality within eight hours of an accident.In addition, they will be required to report all in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of a work-related accident.

“I want to make sure employers are aware of and understand the changes, so they are not caught off guard in the new year,”Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said. “The department has posted a video on YouTube to help businesses understand the changes and the timeframe in which to report the incidents. The department’s free labor law posters have also been updated to reflect the changes.”

North Carolina and 21 other jurisdictions known as state plan states operate their own occupational safety and health programs. State plan states have some flexibility to customize safety and health programs that address workplace issues unique to their state as long as the state programs remain “as effective” as federal OSHA.

Revised recordkeeping and reporting rules were published in the Federal Register on Sept. 18, 2014. The final rule also updated the list of industries that due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records.

The revised rule maintains the exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year, regardless of their industry classification, from the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.

All employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA’s new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.

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