Lose An Eye At Work? The Feds Now Want To Know

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A new rule introduced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that companies must notify the agency whenever one of their employees suffers an amputation, Business Week reports.

The OHSA’s regulation on workplace amputation is a significant increase in past reporting standards. Besides amputation, also included is a stipulation covering the loss of an eye, as well. Previously, reporting information to the agency was only necessary if an employee died on the job, or if a minimum of three employees were hospitalized.

“The updated record-keeping and reporting requirements are not simply paperwork, but have an important—in fact lifesaving—purpose,” Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels told reporters. “They will enable employers and workers to prevent future injuries by identifying and eliminating the most serious workplace hazards: ones that have already caused injuries to occur.”

For OHSA, the point of requiring more information is to help ramp up compliance with safety measures, and detailed knowledge about smaller incidents will prevent escalation to even more serious injuries or death. Now, investigators will be able to step in and intervene much earlier.

Businesses argue that the new regulation is yet another burden to comply with, and that it isn’t offset by any corresponding benefit. Marc Freedman, director of labor law policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues that the requirements will “generate much traffic to OSHA that I don’t think they’re going to have any real use for.” Meanwhile, Michaels still maintains unwavering confidence that OSHA is up for the task of sorting through tens of thousands of new notifications. For Michaels, the fact that amputation data may be made public is an extra incentive for businesses to take careful note of their own safety procedures.

The rule is three years in the making and set to come into play on January 1 of next year.

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