WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government on Thursday moved to tighten its rules on the reporting of workplace deaths and severe injuries, declaring that employers beginning Jan. 1 must report any fatalities within eight hours of the accident or incident.
Work-related hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye will now have to be reported within 24 hours, under the final rule announced by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Previously, OSHA's regulations required such reports to be filed only if three or more workers were killed or hospitalized while on the job.
The agency said no company will be exempt, no matter how small.
"We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. "Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them."
The new rule follows the release earlier in the day of the annual report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on fatal occupational injuries. It reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in the United States in 2013.
Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.
Hospitalizations and amputations because of workplace incidents can be clear signals "that serious hazards are likely to be present at a workplace and that an intervention is warranted to protect the other workers at the establishment," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
The new rule maintains the current exemption for any employer with 10 or fewer employees from the requirement to routinely keep records of worker injuries and illnesses.