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OSHA gives first report on Severe Injury Report Program

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a report regarding the results of its Severe Injury Report Program. New Jersey workers might remember that the new rule to require employers to report to the agency about certain injuries was implemented on Jan. 1, 2015, so this is the first year of results.

Under the Severe Injury Report Program, companies must report within 24 hours work-related injuries that involve amputation, eye loss or in-patient hospitalization. OSHA states that the purpose of this is to urge companies to analyze their equipment and processes to determine why the injuries occurred. The agency believes that employers will be more likely to take measures so that future injuries are prevented.

In its first report, OSHA states that companies documented 2,644 amputations and 7,636 hospitalizations throughout 2015. Of the hospitalizations, 26 percent occurred in manufacturing facilities, 19 percent on construction sites and 11 percent in warehouses. Among the amputations, 57 percent happened in manufacturing facilities and 10 percent on construction sites. OSHA thinks a majority of the hazards can be prevented.

The agency acknowledged 62 percent of the reports by requesting that the employers do their own investigations and suggest possible solutions to prevent the same incidents in the future. This approach focused more on finding and resolving the problem rather than giving employers citations for health and safety violations. OSHA believes that the process was very effective at reducing hazards and at using fewer of its own resources than on-site inspections require.

In New Jersey, workers who are injured during the course of employment may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These can include partial wage replacement for the period that the injured victim is unable to return to work. An attorney can often be of assistance in preparing the required claim and in ensuring that it is filed within the required time period.

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