Results from first year of severe injury reporting

Companies in North Carolina and around the company started being required to report severe work-related injuries within 24 hours to the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2015. There were 10,388 reports filed in that year, which is equal to about 30 severe work injuries a day. The new reporting requirements exist to help employers become aware of potential hazards that can be resolved. Additionally, this lets safety organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration target the areas where the most workers are injured.

Many of the reports led to employers conducting investigations and proposing plans for preventing future injuries while OSHA inspected work sites after other incidents. In some cases, officials found that a few employers tried to hide hazards. For example, a manufacturer attempted to hide a production line that caused an amputation and had exposed parts that could cause more injuries or amputations.

While OSHA receives notification quickly after serious injuries occur when incidents are reported, some severe injuries may go unreported. Outreach strategies try to ensure that first responders, insurers and businesses are aware that employers must report severe workplace injuries. Since this is the second year where reporting is mandatory, citations may be issued for a maximum of $7,000 when a company fails to file a report.

Agencies like OSHA continuously take steps to promote workplace safety and target violators, but outside forces can only do so much if a company is not committed to ensuring safe working conditions and providing the proper training and safety equipment for employees. If a company acted recklessly by not following federal safety regulations, an injured worker may be able to seek damages in a lawsuit. Even if all safety precautions are taken, however, workplace accidents can and do happen, and an employee who is injured as a result may want to have the assistance of counsel in pursuing workers' compensation benefits.

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