An employer asked five questions about OSHA’s new injury reporting requirements and got a response from the agency. OSHA’s answers help explain just what is reportable – and what isn’t.
As of Jan. 1, 2015, employers under federal OSHA must report all work-related amputations and losses of an eye to the agency within 24 hours.
In its most recent standard interpretation letter, OSHA answered five questions regarding this regulatory change:
- What’s the definition of an amputation? Amputation is defined under section 1904.39(b)(11) as “the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.”
- How do you distinguish between an amputation and an avulsion? Rely on a healthcare professional’s diagnosis. If there is no available diagnosis by a healthcare professional, the employer should rely on the definition and example of amputation included in section 1904.39(b)(11).
- If an employee loses the very tip of his finger, is that reportable to OSHA within 24 hours? What if the employee loses any part of the finger above the first joint? If the tip of the finger is amputated, the work-related event must be reported. An amputation doesn’t require loss of bone.
- Does loss of an eye include loss of sight? Loss of an eye is the physical removal of the eye, including enucleation and evisceration. Loss of sight without the removal of the eye is not reportable under the requirements of section 1904.39. A case involving loss of sight that results in the in-patient hospitalization of the worker within 24 hours of the work-related incident is reportable.
- If an employee has to have a glass eye after an event, would this be a reportable event? The reportability of the loss of an eye isn’t determined by the type of medical care to treat the injury. The physical removal of the eye from the socket from a work-related incident is reportable.