Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Jul 01, 2015

WASHINGTON: Injury reporting rules revised July 1, 2015

Safety and Health 

Employers in Washington must comply with new requirements for reporting serious injuries beginning July 1, 2015.

Employers in Washington must comply with new requirements for reporting serious injuries beginning July 1, 2015. Work-related injuries resulting in amputations or loss of an eye must be reported to Washington’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) within 24 hours of learning of the injury. Fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations must still be reported within 8 hours. The changes are the result of new federal requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on which we previously reported. DOSH adopted most of OSHA’s changes, with three exceptions:

  • DOSH kept Washington’s existing requirement to report all in-patient hospitalizations within 8 hours (OSHA allows 24 hours). If an amputation or loss of an eye requires in-patient hospitalization, you must report within 8 hours.
  • Federal OSHA says that a severed ear isn’t an amputation, but DOSH’s regulation is conspicuously silent. A DOSH representative has informally confirmed to Vigilant that, contrary to federal OSHA’s position, the complete or partial removal of an ear qualifies as the amputation of an external body part which must be reported to DOSH.
  • DOSH decided not to allow Washington employers the option of reporting incidents using OSHA’s new online form, which is still under development.

The DOSH rule follows OSHA’s lead in updating the list of low-hazard industries in which Washington employers are exempt from DOSH’s requirement to record work-related injuries and illnesses on the OSHA-300 Log. The requirement to contact DOSH or OSHA to report fatalities, in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye, however, applies to all employers regardless of industry or number of employees. For more information, see DOSH’s web page on the new rule, read our Legal Guide, “Catastrophe/Fatality Notification Procedure,” or contact your Vigilant safety professional.

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