In a new interpretation letter, OSHA has removed its requirement for “double reporting” a fatality that occurs immediately after a worker hospitalization.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, OSHA started issuing citations if an employer failed to report cases involving an admission to a hospital followed by a fatality, but a recently published interpretation letter indicates that has changed.
OSHA’s area offices took the position that a second call to OSHA was required in the case of a fatality even if the employer already notified the agency of an injury requiring a hospitalization within the mandated 24-hour notification period.
This led to some employers being hit with proposed penalties of up to $9,639, according to law firm Constangy Brooks Smith & Prophete.
The interpretation letter, which is dated Jan. 8, says that once OSHA has been advised of a case serious enough to require a hospitalization, “the agency is already in a position to seek information about the conditions that led to the admission and to decide whether an inspection is needed.”
In other words, if OSHA is advised of the hospital admission, failure to make a second call when the employee dies doesn’t impede its ability to conduct an inspection.
4-hour rule still stands
However, the law firm reports OSHA hasn’t changed its stance that an employer must produce OSHA 300 logs and summary forms within four business hours of a request.
That’s something the agency had been more lax about in the past, typically giving employers a few days to produce the records, but has cracked down on since the start of the pandemic.